Bird’s Nest Turku

A collaboration with sound artist Shawn Decker
Turku City Art Museum 26.5.-16.9.2007

The Nest in the Turku city art museum in Finland, also called the Wäinö Aaltonen Art Museum, was made for the Wild exhibition, curated by Andersson and Canadian curator Jen Budney. The exhibition dealt with the idea of fantasy related architecture, and contained architectural models, videos, installations and drawings from a wide range of international architects and artists.

For this Bird’s Nest project, in preparation for the upcoming installation in Chicago, a new nest shape was tried: that of the Weaver Bird or Oriole. The sound for this Nest was produced using many small speakers as sound sources. Each of these speakers is sent small pulses from a set of microcontrollers which are also part of this installation, and can make only the most basic of sounds – clicks, rattles, and buzzes. These basic sounds are used to create very quiet and subtle spatial and rhythmic patterns based on the constantly changing small sounds found in the natural landscape. The sounds themselves are designed to reinstate the constantly changing rhythms of nature into the interior nest environment in a highly spatial manner.

The Bird’s Nest Turku explores new ways of developing architecture based on forms found in nature. These forms are combined with kinetic sound works that are likewise derived directly from natural processes. The artists see these acoustic and kinetic elements functioning as architectural ornamentation, broadening of the concept of the “ornament” to include sound and rhythm.

Although the Bird’s Nest looks chaotic, it is made of a single, geometric, triangular shaped wooden ”module”. The concept of the module has been widely used in modernist architecture, resulting in monotonous buildings with repeated patterns. In the Bird’s Nest structure, however, the arrangement of the triangular ”modules” in a semi-chaotic manner creates a space which is more organic ­ and rooted in structures found within natural systems.

Visitors are invited to sit down inside the Nest and experience the sound and the transparency of the structure and how it allows the surrounding to be a part of the experience.