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Winner of KP and SPRING18 publikums price


Performance: Manuela Solvez, Alex Mora Lyngaae, Andreas Constantinou and Noelia Mora Solvez

Film photography: Christoffer Brekne

B  I  R  D S
The songs of birds carry the sound of freedom. They are a thing of serenity. Composed as clear, pure and innocent melodies that chirp through even the darkest night. At least that seems to be the meaning of this phenomenon in popular culture. In Lennon/McCartney's classic Blackbird from 1968, the singing of the bird through the dead of night gives rise to images of freedom, resurrection and destiny. The white dove stands as an almost eternal symbol of peace. The American bald Eagle remains a kind of mascot for freedom, while in Disney, there is a long and wide history of birds with human traits serving as messengers or helpers, while always singing in beautiful voices. The bird as a cultural symbol mirrors its calm and peaceful nature: A free spirit, whose fragility is counterweighted by the serene beauty of its song. A song of peace, tranquility and beauty.

But if we shift our perspective only slightly, we get a different answer to the question of why the bird is really singing in the dead of night. Surely we, sitting on a bench in the park, are intrigued by the appealing voices of these small creatures, while for the birds themselves the message is of course fundamentally different:
“I'll rip your head off and eat your unborn children.” 
And the most usual of suspects:
“Please have sex with me, please have sex with me, please have sex with me!”

The point here is however not that underneath the apparent beauty lies a brutal and honest truth – a harsh reality of some sort. But rather that the very foundation of beauty rests upon a certain kind of projection. It is not the bird's fault that we want it to be our symbol of freedom and serenity. But this relationship maybe tells us something crucial about heavily laden ideological ideas; that they are indeed in need of a certain external empty canvas that can defenselessly accommodate our fantasies to have them arise in the field of the Other, as if to give them the substantial reality they were lacking when they were merely ideas of our own.

This, perhaps, is the precise lack we are bringing with us into this room. The room of the birds. The lack encountered by a man in one of the old stories by the Greek essayist Plutarch, who, after plucking a nightingale and finding nothing to eat on what little body it had, proclaimed:

“Vox et praeterea nihil.”

“You are but a voice and nought else.”
Plutarch, Apophthegmata Laconica, 233a

Text by Anders Ruby

Birds is currently being exhibited at Århus Kunsthal, from the 17th March to the 15th April.

Birds has been supported by:

KP board of members

Aarhus Filmværksted

Aarhus Kommune Kulturudviklingspulje.


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