The Project

In our suddenly quieter world, the sound of the birds can now be heard more clearly.

Birds are environmental indicators. For this reason, humans have always been attracted to birdsong and bird sounds. A diverse bird community signals a healthy environment. We are reminded how essential it is and has always been to live in harmonious balance. Call-and-response patterns are found in every culture’s communication and music and in all forms of sharing and democracy around the globe. Call-and-response patterns are found in every culture’s communication and music, and in all forms of sharing and democracy.

This online public art project invites us to stop and listen to the free and wild airborne members of our community and to share a sense of our environment at the moment. Call and Response refers to the actual format of this project—my call and your response—as well as themes of community, connection and conversation in this solitary and surreal moment in time.

I called on friends and friends of friends from around the world, inviting them to send one minute videos as they eavesdropped on their local avian conversations. I received 100 video responses. Collected here they create unique sound compositions combining a wide range of species and conversations not heard together anywhere else in the world. Each time the site is refreshed, a new composition is created.

In Call and Response, each collaborator’s video submission allows us as viewers to share in the precise moment it was recorded. What they were hearing, letting us be virtually side by side for a moment, listening together.

Melissa McGill