CAMERON HOCKENSON
Control Tower
2011
recycled pine wood, solar panels, delay switch, mic, speakers
4'D x 12' installation
Project Site: Montalvo Arts Center
Project City: Saratoga
Project State: California
Project Country: United States
Photo Credit Cameron Hockenson
Collaborating Sound Artist: Robert Davis


This condominium for birds attempts interspecies communication. Cavity nesting song birds were driven out of Silicon Valley due to suburban sprawl, and the removal of hollow oak tree snags in back yards, which are the habitat of nuthatches.

It seemed right these refugees had a community of their own. It was experimental to make a communal colony for birds that prefer to live in, and defend solitary nesting sites. But when compared to human social patterns, it offers up interesting parallels. The varying hole sizes in this piece invited both song birds and blue-jays, their gentrifying predators.

Because of this problem, I worked with Robert Davis, an artist specializing in bio mimicry from Goldsmith’s College in London to make a solar powered radio system which detects the pitch and song of cavity nesters and chirps back air traffic warnings in Morse code.

Montalvo's Garden Curator, Delmar McComb designed a bird garden to provide food and nesting material.
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