'Spontaneous City' of Birdhouses Springs Up in London

Images: London Fieldworks

Rapid urbanization and widespread habitat destruction stemming from human activities are negatively impacting wildlife populations as never before. City-dwelling birds, which are an integral part of urban ecologies, are no exception. As this thought-provoking 'mass bird-housing' installation by eco-artist collective London Fieldworks shows (more photos after the jump), encouraging urban biodiversity -- whether in urban planning or green building -- is something that deserves more thought.Calling their work The Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven, London artists Jo Joelson and Bruce Gilchrist chose an Ailanthus altissima, or a "Tree of Heaven" for the hive-like installation of bird boxes, which was put up using cherry pickers. Though we're not sure if birds will inhabit every little box (some of them look pretty darn small), the aim of the project probably leans more toward inspiring public dialogue (hey, it's art).


Using a complex network of elastic bands which allow the tree to grow unimpeded, the sculptural habitat appears spontaneous but directly reflects the local architectural context and density of the Duncan Terrace Gardens area, which consists mostly of Georgian terraces and social housing from the sixties. Explains Joelson:

'Half of the bird boxes are rectangular and feature recessed square and arch shapes to reflect the upper and lower windows of the Georgian terraces. The other boxes are square and have recesses to reflect the flat's balconies.'


Sponsored by public art non-profit UP Projects as part of the Secret Gardens series, this beautiful project hopes to raise awareness about the importance of urban green spaces -- both for human use and local wildlife. Like the other understated but gorgeous works from London Fieldworks, Spontaneous City draws on the not-so-farfetched notion that 'ecology' is in reality a host of complex interactions between society, technology, nature and art.

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