Thursday, October 14, 2010

How tweet it is

Artist Jenna Spevack
outside Sweet Melissa on
 Court Street in Cobble Hill,
one site of her bird song project.
The audio speaker is above
her head, to the right of
the air conditioner.
 Photo by Matt Isaac
This one's for the birds.

Crown Heights-based artist Jenna Spevack has installed audio speakers in different parts of Brooklyn that play the songs of 20 different birds that are rare, endangered or extinct in Brooklyn.

“Many neighborhoods in Brooklyn lack green space for bird habitats,” said Spevack. “Residential neighbors often coexist with industrial or commercial sites and birds are either drowned out or absent due to development and pollution.”

Called "Birds of Brooklyn," the speakers can be found outside of seven participating sites: Brooklyn Design Lab (Park Slope), Mile End Delicatessen (Boerum Hill), ShyBirdy (Williamsburg), Sweet Melissa’s (Cobble Hill), Lava Studio (Prospect Heights), and Monti Studios and Breukelen Coffee House (Crown Heights), sounding off from 8 am-8 pm.

The idea for this project gelled when she spent a month last summer at an artist residency in rural Connecticut, where she heard a great variety of bird sounds all day and night. 

“I returned home to Brooklyn and it seemed oddly quiet without the birds I grew accustomed to hearing. I also noticed a distinct absence of birds in my neighborhood, Crown Heights, except for the occasional sparrow. That’s when I started to research Brooklyn birds.”

Birds included in the project include the Ring-necked Pheasant, Grasshopper Sparrow and Eastern Blue Bird, played in a random loop through a small outdoor speake

Additional sites will be added shortly in the Downtown, Ditmas Park, Flatbush, Red Hook and Bay Ridge neighborhoods, including on the campus of City Tech. 

For more information, visit


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