Sometimes the best things start by necessity.
Almost since when we started to live together in a 45 sq meter space in Kreuzberg we have been sharing our home with canary birds. Small, fragile and beautiful animals flying around without a cage…
Slowly we started a conversation with them, studying and imitating the sounds they produced. A strong relation and admiration grew with time. We never tried to teach them or train them and our situation far from being something idyllic, our living space ended up being a wild ecosystem where our needs started to melt and we had to constantly redefine them day by day.
The canaries built a little nest with all the small things they found in our studio, from human hair to small pieces of paper to tobacco, to Christmas and party decoration… the nest was a sort of bizarre and colorful model, which one could see maybe as a quite fascinating miniature of our home. Then the eggs and small new birds came after.
In 2014 and after a long trip with our birds by train we arrived at Villa Romana in Florence to stayed almost for a year. The director of the residency Angelika Stepken warned us about four “predators” that would have loved our birds just as much as we did…
The first plan was to leave them free in our apartment inside the Villa but in the end we moved them to the studio on the other side of the house. To go from the apartment to the studio one has to pass through the garden… Some days we would bring them to the apartment and then back to the studio again…
Eventually, we came up with the idea of connecting the two spaces… it wasn’t meant to be an installation or a sculpture, but at that time it was simply something necessary for us. Planned and developed together with our good friend and architect Pietro Minelli and a lot of help from other friends – we built a 90-meter long passage over two long weekends. We used rope and chicken fence, and a very simple helicoidal construction.
We traced the form and the curves by thinking about how a bird would fly; the trees and the architecture of the Villa shaped the rest. This floating structure was an attempt to give our birds more autonomy and still protect them.
The experiment ended up being quiet successful since the birds seemed to be very happy and already started flying from our home to the studio from the very first day. In the next weeks they could do it in only few seconds. Birds were appearing and disappearing in the room fluttering and chirping. Small and colorful dots singing, flying and zigzagging in the garden… The window of our bedroom looked like sci-fi entrance, as if you could jump into another dimension.
Back in Berlin we both were invited to participate in the group show “Trouble in Paradise” at t the Bundeskunsthalle in Bonn and we thought this was the perfect occasion to present the birds project.
The resulting piece, called ”For the Birds”, in this new context was not only quite different in terms of the building – from our apartment to a public institution, but also the path itself was in contrast to the specific architecture of the building.
On this occasion we extended the project to the library as well, hiding some photos of our birds and their domestic life in the book collection of the museum.
The birds in Bonn seemed to be quiet happy and made a nest and had eggs.
Soon after, while our birds were growing their little ones, we were invited for another project at Salts, Basel, where we extend the idea by building a big egg.
This time for chickens…