Bird’s Nest Wakefield

The Bird’s Nest Wakefield is basically the same version as in the ISEA exhibition in Kiasma, but made to function outdoors. The Bird’s Nest Wakefield, built in 2004 in the garden of the BEAM art centre in Wakefield, UK, 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. In the Nest made for Wakefield exhibition small motors equipped with a small leather strap hit piano wires, which form a transparent roof over the Nest, and which connect it to the environment surrounding it. The sounds are constantly changing and never repeat, being generated by a computer program modelling patterns and processes directly derived from nature. This constant change directly contrasts with the overwhelming presence of recorded media in our contemporary culture, which has desensitized us to the subtle and complex processes and the constant change found in nature.