Bird’s Nest Evanston

A collaboration with sound artist Shawn Decker
Evanston Art Center, USA. 20.6.2007 – through June 2008
The Bird’s Nest Evanston is basically the same version as in the Turku City Art Museum, but made to function outdoors. Also, the main building of the art center (a neo arts and crafts building from 1920) with long and ornate chimneys inspired Andersson to alter the design of the nest—to echo both the site’s architecture and the striking design of nests formed by the Weaver Bird (Europe) or the Oriole (New World). It is also the biggest nest so far, being built by around 350 wooden triangles and rising up to 5 meters.

The Bird’s Nest Evanston 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.The sound is produced in much the same manner as the Turku Nest – using small speakers (weatherproofed) and microcontrollers distributed throughout the nest structure. Extensive test were done by freezing the speakers to see if the speakers can stand the changing weather conditions in Chicago during the wintertime.

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.