Perch is a new video and sculptural installation by Liz Harrison, and concerns reflections on vanishing birds and ornithological observations
This work is a site specific response to the space at Five Years, housed within an industrial unit, âperched', the last cube along the 6th floor corridor, on the edge of the building; a purely functional building devoid of any sense of place or relationship with the natural environment. It invokes feelings of anonymity, void, exclusion. This arid space catalysed a visual response invoking observations on nature from past, romantic viewpoints and present day personal observations on the natural world, and its demise, a theatre imported. The void is re-presented by the simply staged artificiality of a natural habitat. The format and methodologies for this installation reveal conflicts of realities, the ordinary and the mundane/ the poetic, the imaginary and the idealistic.
Central to the installation is the chance filming of sparrows, once ubiquitous in our cities, which has stimulated the ideas and form of this video installation. It reveals an illusion that evokes feelings of not only sentiment but also disquiet. The film is both familiar and comic and is staged as a fictional tableau, but invokes an inevitable sense of unease about our expanding technological environment. Our desire is for things always to remain the same, and to believe in the âbird' or the âsparrow' chirruping away and for it to be a given sentiment.
Location is imagined and seen as a microcosm, past or present. It questions our illusion of the stability of life, bringing together the unpredictable elements that will always exist in delicate balance. History is re-animated into the present, with a juxtaposition of ideas and notions. The writings of the 18th century naturalist Gilbert White, the Victorian extravaganzas of imported tropical habitats in the late 19th century, to the mobile communication systems that have escalated from the 20th to 21st century have all inspired and informed this work.
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