Birdscore for an Ephemeral Landscape (2019)

Composition, print (29,7 x 42 cm), edition of 15
In collaboration with composer Drake Stoughton (USA)

Poster with ephemeral ink. The poster was sold during Printing Plant Art Book Fair at Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam.

Part of
‘Building an Archive of a
Disappearing Landscape’

Thanks to ecologist Kees van Oers (KNAW, NL)

Venues: Printing Plant Art Book Fair, Looiersgracht 60, Amsterdam (NL).

Birdscore for an ephemeral landscape (2019) evolves around the memories of some of the older villagers of Keyenberg (DE), a village which will soon be excavated due to lignite industry, which have been observing birds since their childhood years. They report the loss of the large variety of birds orchestrating in their gardens, a phenomenon which came to an abrupt end after their resettlement to ‘Neu-Keyenberg’, one of the newly build copy-villages replacing the original settlements. Exemplary, the Virtual Museum describes the population of the sparrow, a bird species which has been characterizing of the village during many centuries, even causing a plaque in the early 1900s. Due to the concrete nature of the new villages and the disappearing of old houses which offer lots of cracks and holes for the sparrows to breed in, the birds are now driven out of this landscape.

By recording birdsongs during dawn within the endangered villages and woods and examining them together with ecologist Kees van Oers (KNAW), the project examines how modes of industrial excavation impact existing ecological structures and the habitats of wildlife. The outcome is a score from the recorded bird songs originating from the woods around Keyenberg, composed and transcribed by composer Drake Stoughton and classified by Dr. Kees van Oers. Through the very matter of the printed score, the work questions the limitations and forms of the archive itself: The score was written with thermal ink and printed on a poster, asking the owner to place it in a sunny spot. Over the course of time and by the influence of sunlight, the score will slowly disappear, just like the landscape it resembles.

Forests around Keyenberg, Northrhine-Westphalia, Germany. Google Earth

This work is part of Building an Archive of a Disappearing Landscape
, a project combining artistic work with theoretical research, resulting in a series of works and an artist publication. Starting from the notion of the my grandfather’s birthplace, which vanished from the map in 1976 due to lignite industry, it explores the changing of matter which occurs within the particular landscape of Northrhine-Westphalia In West Germany.

recording birdssongs at dawn in the forest around Keyenberg (DE). Autumn 2019.