News & Events
Listen for the ‘Birds of Brooklyn’
Brooklyn artist and New York City College of Technology Assistant Professor Jenna Spevack has developed a community-based audio artwork, “Birds of Brooklyn,” that brings the sounds of Brooklyn’s displaced, endangered and bygone birds to various sites around the borough. The project is sponsored, in part, by the Greater New York Arts Development Fund of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, administered by the Brooklyn Arts Council.
From 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., bird songs that are rarely heard in densely populated Brooklyn neighborhoods are projected from participating host locations. Neighborhood residents and passersby will hear 20 different recordings, including the Ring-necked Pheasant, Grasshopper Sparrow and Eastern Blue Bird. The project aims to reconnect city dwellers with the natural sounds of the area and raise awareness about declining bird populations in urban environments.
In consultation with members of the Brooklyn Bird Club, the selection of recordings was chosen to highlight birds that are not commonly heard on the streets or shores of Brooklyn, but may have been at one time. Although some of the birds are common outside of New York City or in local parks, many are threatened or have been extirpated from the Brooklyn area due to urban development, pesticides, airport management practices and climate change, as well as shrinking grasslands, marshlands and forests.
Many neighborhoods in Brooklyn lack green space for bird habitat. Residential neighbors often coexist with industrial or commercial sites and birds are either drowned out or absent due to development and pollution. By constructing an aural landscape that “greens” the concrete physical environment and gently reintroduces the sounds of former bird residents, the artist hopes awareness will inspire Brooklynites to support their bird neighbors.
As of this writing, “Birds of Brooklyn” is installed at 10 host sites, including Brooklyn Design Lab in Park Slope, Mile End Delicatessen in Boerum Hill, ShyBirdy in Williamsburg, Sweet Melissa’s in Carroll Gardens, Monti Studios in Prospect Heights and Breukelen Coffee House in Crown Heights. More sites will be added as the project progresses. Visit www.birdsofbrokklyn.org for a locations map and take a moment to listen for “Birds of Brooklyn!”
For more information, contact Professor Jenna Spevack at firstname.lastname@example.org or 917.743.4678.