For the Birds / Birds Notation

This piece uses the sky as a musical score, with the flight of birds and the trajectory of aeroplane clouds as notes, and each movement translated into the characteristics of an instrument. The piano, which is also a percussion instrument, responds to the flapping wings of the dotted birds, while the double bass, which produces a sustained sound, responds to the trajectory of the aeroplane cloud. The sky, after the birds and aircraft clouds have disappeared, becomes a score of silence.

When light sensors attached to the LCD monitor detect the shadow of the bird and the brightness of the aerocumulus, a toy piano and toy double bass placed near the monitor are activated and play a sound. It is a media-archaeological device in which the flowing images are compared to a music box, a punch card of an automatic music machine or a MIDI roll.

The title ‘For the Birds’ is taken from a collection of dialogues by John Cage, and ‘Bird Notation’ from ‘Wave Notation’, a collection of critiques of environmental music that includes Satoshi Ashikawa’s posthumous collection of manuscripts.