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Keybird
Installation: 17 June - 1 August 2010 -- 11:00 - 17:00
Presented by: RobertJarvis
Public: Free
Aspex Gallery The Vulcan Building, Gunwharf Quays,
Portsmouth PO1 3BF -- UK
http://www.robertjarvis.co.uk

KEYBIRD (2006) - an interactive installation comprising of a musical keyboard that plays birdsong - is an invited work at the Aspex Gallery's "The Great Outdoors" exhibition.

The Keybird emits a different bird call for every note that is pressed, allowing players to contrast and compare the different songs, and allowing them to compose imaginary dawn choruses. By interacting with the work, players are encouraged to move between the role of observer, as they identify the different species through their different musical signatures, and that of composer as they treat the calls as musical phrases in their own right.

The installation aims to create for its users a lighthearted yet deep connection with bird song in general, and by extension the soundscape. As the Keybird notes are physically played a mental connection with the sound is made with the result that sounds are subconsciously ‘lodged’ in short-term memory, and listening is heightened, at least for a short while. The installation gives time to its players to enquire, to play and to share the sounds, preparing the mind for an enhanced listening experience. Players of Keybird notice that they will begin to hear the detail in the different bird calls as well as hear sounds they never heard before, and the world will never quite sound the same to them again.

The birdsong featured is taken from the observational notes made by a Rye Harbour RSPB Warden over the course of one bird-watching year, and so is representative of the range of birds that can be found in the South of England. The calls of 76 different birds are arranged in alphabetical order along the keyboard and the visitor is left to experiment with playing the different notes, to contrast and compare and to compose their own compositions.


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