Commissioned for Yue-Kong Pao Hall of Visual and Performing Arts, Purdue University
Two monumental Brickhead sculptures face one another across the plaza. Their eyes are closed. Sounds of the natural world emanate from the artworks, filling the air with morning bird calls, buzzing insects, and frantic night peepers. This ‘biophone’ of sound, recorded over several days in May 2008*, is reconstructed within the architecture of the sculptures, creating a 24-hour chronology of life on earth.
One additional sound element has been added to the installation; the haunting call of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Thought to be extinct since the 1940’s, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was the King of the Woodpeckers before human encroachment and large-scale deforestation altered its landscape forever.
Passersby interrupting motion sensors create accidental viewer participation. As the giant woodpecker’s call trumpets back and forth between the heads, a prematurely silenced conversation is revived, leaving the rest of us to ponder the meaning.
* Original sound recordings provided by Prof. Bryan Pijanowski, Purdue University.
Ceramic brick sculptures with internal interactive sound elements. – Height 120″ – 2013