Students from Rose Bruford College in London performed a piece outside the Industrial Palace. There were five or six working bird sculptures that were wheeled around by a flock of flight attendants. At the beginning of the performance, the attendants were flocked in bird migration formation. They acted out a series of choreographed movements that were a cross between flight attendant protocol and natural bird actions. Afterwards, they wheeled each bird sculpture around the circle of onlookers. I spoke with two of the participating students, Thomas Adby and James Sheppard. They had helped in the creation of one or two of the sculptures, and were able to tell me a bit more about the project.
The birds were made six months ago in a collaborative effort between scenic artists and designers from Rosebruford College. The intent of the project was to create automaton birds to simulate actual bird movement. The sculptures were loosely based on Aristophanes’ The Birds.
General consensus of the audience was that it was an enjoyable experience. I heard comments emerging from groups such as “funny!” “great fun,” “delightful,” and “lovely.” I spoke with Roderick Orr-Ewing and Peter Mair (with the UK exhibit) who thought the project truly captured the spirit of this year’s PQ. They also noted the amazing inventiveness of the sculptures as well as the advanced mechanical knowledge which went in to the production of each bird.
It was truly an inspired, artistic, and wonderfully fun experience!