Date: 2011

Glendale Blues Festival
Glendale, AZ
Chalk the Block Festival,
El Paso, TX

Commissioning Agency:
Glendale Public Art
El Paso Public Art

Project Manager (Glendale):
Gibran Villalobos

Project Manager (El Paso):
Patricia Dalbin

Interaction Manager (Glendale):
Ricardo Leon

Project Assistant (El Paso):
Mykl Wells

Plexiglass masks with colored adhesive, microphone, speakers, light, computer, custom software

Plexiglass Fabrication:
Creative Plastics

Alejandra Carrillo, A.T. Willett, Aaron Latham.

A related project titled Blues Birds was also presented at Glendale, AZ’s Jazz and Blues Festival in 2010. Bird Song Sing is an interactive installation that invites visitors to take on the identity of twittering birds. Large bird masks are mounted on microphone stands on a small platform. Visitors can walk up to a mask, and speak, whistle, and sing. The participants’ voices are picked up my microphones inside the bird-masks, and and transformed into birdcalls, which are played from speakers hidden in the platform.

Temporary projects like this one, which are usually presented at festivals, give an opportunity to see and learn how people interact with artworks. People will talk, tell jokes, curse, and laugh into the microphone. When they sing, it’s often Happy Birthday. When it works best, there’s a delight in trying and failing to understand what the person behind the mask is saying.