Something Going On Above My Head brings together over two thousand birdsongs from across the world, arranged like instruments in an orchestra
Oswaldo Maciá’s sound sculpture plays through sixteen speakers placed above our heads, like birds singing from the treetops. A diagram shows the orchestra layout. Instead of instruments, Maciá lists the Latin names of birds. The artist spent five years collecting birdcalls from audio archives and libraries. He then reworked them into a symphony. Maciá scored the birdsongs according to their pitch, grouped like the sections of an orchestra.
The artist’s inspiration for this work was a newspaper article, which made a passing reference to Russian submarines dumping nuclear residue in the Baltic Sea. We could easily miss such news among all the other stories in a paper. The work’s title alludes to the many daily events that go unnoticed. Similarly, we usually consider birdsongs a pleasant sound. Yet they are often calls of distress or defence.
Maciá challenges the definition of sculpture as a visual art form. His work often draws attention to overlooked histories and natural phenomena. Something Going On Above My Head highlights the amount of information surrounding us, and questions our ability to comprehend this indistinguishable background noise.
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