A Bird's Boundary
By Britt Kilpatrick and Bird(s)

Started on: 05/02/06 10:37:19
Medium: Other

While I was at the beach, watching the sandpipers chase the tide in and out, I approached slowly from behind, camera in hand. When in shooting distance (photographing, that is) I would go to snap the photo and the birds, suddenly camera shy, would fly away together, leaving me feeling a bit rejected and alone. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been interested in how close is too close for birds and what it takes to get closer. I don't know what kind of medium this would permit, but I am interested in first seeing how I would be able to collaborate with birds by getting closer to them and interacting with them. I believe this interaction will drive the piece in showing what kind of direction the birds would be willing to work in.

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Project Updates
05/02/06 10:38:14 - The Willets are Missing

I have been to the beach on four different occasions and, much to my dismay, the willets are missing. Upon further research I have found that the beach is probably too wet for the birds to find food with their shallow beaks. Yet another reason for the sun to come out.

costume idea
this is a rough sketch of one of the possible costumes I will be implementing to attract the birds to myself.

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05/23/06 11:12:24 - Costume update

My costume is (practically) done! The basic structure is made and now I have just to take it the beach with spray adhesive in hand to 'sand blast' the outside, so I look more like a beach rock rather than a regular ol' rock. Aaaaaand...the sun is out! Which means the Willets shall return and I am going to meet them this week. As a rock.

Inside the Rock Costume

Rock Eye Patch

Rock Costume

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Comment by markb (05/29/06 22:40:04):
the costume looks good, almost like a car cover, which is good, because if my bird poop covered car is any indication, bird like interacting with cars. Maybe the structure will be too soft and flap in the wind and scare the birds. If that happens you can cover the structure with plaster dipped pieces of gauze, which will be more rock like. just a thought

06/05/06 09:37:26 - A Day at the Beach

Having realized that the Willets have moved away and therefore are not available to collaborate, the position of collaborater was open to willing participants. Those participants, as you see below, are a group of skeptical seagulls.

I thought "perfect! seagulls are dumb, they'll never realize that i'm not a rock." However, as dumb as seagulls might be, they never took an eye off that girl climbing under her rock costume and sliding towards them. If I moved, they moved. If I plopped down and stood still, they plopped down and stood still. Basically, their curiousity was not inticed enough to find out what the heck that crazy art student was doing under her petra-facade.

As a person, the seagulls would not let me anywher near. If I walked toward them, they'd fly away to a different spot on the beach. I had to mask my identity.

I was able to get closer by being under the rock costume. I set myself down in the center of their group and slowly slid toward them. You will see in the pictures, the progression of me getting closer to them.

When I lifted my costume off I was surprised to find that the seagulls had made a perfect semi-circle around me. It was beautiful! I documented a bird's boundary. They basically drew it out for me, showing me, even rocks aren't allowed to be too close.

The Path of a Rock

The bird's boundary- semi-circle style

The bird's boundary- semi-circle style

The bird's boundary- semi-circle style

The bird's boundary- semi-circle style

The closest this rock could get...

Closer and Closer

A Rock sliding closer to the Birds

Through the eyes of a rock

A Rock at the Beach

Me under my rock costume

Me climbing under my rock costume

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