Rope Nests
By Jeff Marsch and Bird(s)

Started on: 06/08/09 14:02:17
Medium: Sculptural

This piece was an attempt to make a self contained life system for small birds in which all necessary parts were visibly connected and tangibly interrelated. The original idea was to created three different styles of bird house (each catering to a different bird) that rotated around a single uniform food source. I had been reading on and off about different utopian socialist experiments over the last year and thought to try such an experiment with another species to see how they might react to a prefabricated shared space. I never intended for the piece to actually work as a living environment, but rather conceived of the piece for its metaphorical connotations with the hope that these would be altered/amplified by the actions of my "collaborators". In constructing the space, i.e. the mock nests, I used the model of a bushtit nest (a bird native to Santa Barbara) for form, but decided to use common human building materials to see how the birds would react, specifically to see whether the actual form of the nest was crucial or if the material took precedence. I found it interesting that the most readily available material to make organic forms out of solid material is conventionally used to encage organic life forms (chickens/chicken wire). I lined these forms with straw and grass to soften them, as well as the convey the intentional integration of human building material with unprocessed organic matter. The product was something that gave the initial appearance of a nest, but on closer inspection proved to be something that had more to it than imitation, even to what some said was a sinister end (a trap...I disagree). Nonetheless, it was up to the birds to determine whether or not it was a desirable habitat for living.

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