OOZ, Inc. (…for the birds)

0jerem9.jpgOn Tuesday i went to the Postmasters gallery in Chelsea (NYc) to check Natalie Jeremijenko‘s new installation. She made a 1,000 square-foot garden for birds on the roof of the gallery complete with architect-designed bird housing units, water systems, as well as other amenities to improve the quality of life for urban birds.

The installation is part of Ooz, a series of projects about animal-human interaction. In these projects however, animals interact with humans by choice rather than because they’re caged.

Humans were not invited to the roof so the comings and goings of the birds up there are transmitted live to the gallery space downstairs on a big screen and on 4 small LCD screens.

Jeremijenko also invited other artists to imagine some sustainable private housing for birds. Favourite ones:

– “Plug in bottle for city” (by the Living) is a gate made of sawed-off plastic bottles that would provide some very cheap bird housing nesting units;
– the OpenSource Architecture and x came up with a fun reinterpretation of Koolhaas’ Casa de Musica (Porto), a concert hall for birds performances with stage and mirror system to multiply bird audience;
– there was also a biodegradable apartment block system available with counter and wireless webcam system; an egg-shaped house to be printed in rapid prototyping and assembled in clusters, etc

0bolltt.jpg0casamunin.jpgPlug in bottle for city and Casa de Musica

The artist engineered electronic bird perches that translate bird concerns for humans as soon as a bird lands on them. As no bird were visiting the gallery at the time, you could fake the interaction by touching gently the perch with your hand and the perch would then deliver a message on behalf of the bird, each perch emitting a short soundfile that reveals one of the birds’ concerns and arguments.

01perchhjj.jpg02perch.jpgElectronic bird perches

Jeremijenko also analysed some health food bars and adapted the nutrients to the needs particular to birds (34 serving per bar instead of one for a human, etc.)


The project investigates several questions: Will birds share? Will they use the concert hall to perform and amplify their songs? What forms of leisure will they pursue, given their basic needs are taken care of? How much ecological impact can one green roof have? Etc.

OOZ, Inc. [… for the birds] demonstrates an urban system that accommodates birds and recognizes the valuable services they provide for the Manhattan ecosystem.

OOZ, Inc. (…for the birds) is open until October 7, 2006, Postmasters, NYc. My pictures from the exhibition.

Also by Jeremijenko: OOZ, the cage-less zoo; Feral Robotic Dogs; Reverse Engineers; Wetware Hackers Day 2.