2007 – 2008
Washington, D.C. – Raleigh, NC
Washington Project for the Arts; Site Projects DC June 15 – 18, 2007, temporary
Curated by Welmoed Laanstra
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC 2008, permanent
30 birdhouses and signs were installed in/on 30 trees along 14th ST. NW between P and U, in Washington, DC. The work addresses issues of habitat, attraction, inventory, and migration, specific to the 14th street corridor and a broader social context. Workingman Collective, working with the Migratory Bird Center, National Zoo, identified all songbirds common to the Northeast region that have been decimated by West Nile Virus and urban growth. The 30 birdhouses were built specifically for three species of songbirds hardest hit by the virus: The Eastern Bluebird, Black Capped Chickadee, and Downy Woodpecker. The birdhouses provide a habitat while the signs refer to “place” and are an awareness signal. Site/Cite/Sight connotes an active social engagement that has purpose and sustainability.
Mission was installed for less than 24 hours when we were order by the city to remove the signs and birdhouses or be fined. The Washington DC City Paper ran a story that lead to the invitation to permanently install the work of the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC. For the permanent installation of Mission, Site/Cite/Sight NC, on the grounds of the North Carolina Museum of Art, 15 birdhouses and signs were installed along a 100-yard stretch of the Museum Park Woodland Trail. The irony of placing birdhouses in woodlands shifted the locus of the language and significance of the work relative to its context.