What songs might extinct and endangered birds might sing? How can we hear their stories and what does their representation in the Museum hide and reveal?
Falling Birds by Helena Hunter features larger-than-life X-ray images of extinct and endangered bird specimens from the Horniman’s Natural History collection with fragments of poetic text that are displayed alongside taxidermy mounts of birds. The artworks question natural history, authorship, ethics, and hidden narratives entangled in the lives of birds. In the display, poetry functions as a method to transform conventional modes of representation and encounter, to imagine alternative forms of address and textual interpretation in the museum context. Writing from different subject positions and perspectives, Falling Birds points to the historical implication of museum collections and human interaction in the extinct and endangered lives of birds.
Falling Birds was developed during Helena Hunter’s Artquest Research Residency at the Horniman. To find out more about Helena's work visit helenahunter.net and @_helena_hunter
The artworks are on display in the Horniman’s Natural History Gallery from 19 Sep 2020 to 10 Oct 2021. Entry to the Horniman, and to see the work, is free, visitors need to pre-book a timed slot via the website to enter the Museum.