Doug Taylor
Birdsong Listening Station
2008

LOCATION
Grass circle in the southeast corner of the Fisher Pavilion Rooftop

FUNDING SOURCE
Seattle Center 1% for Art funds


Bird Song Listening Station, by artist Doug Taylor, is a kinetic sculpture that harnesses the renewable energy sources of wind and sunlight to power an interactive listening station. The breezes that fill and turn the sculpture's three 15-foot steel and polyester sails create energy to operate a small generator that supplies power to the sculpture's audio components. Participants activate the nearby listening station by standing beneath its sound dome and pressing the "play" button. A digital recording of calling songs taken from a variety of western finches fills the dome. The dome references the western plane trees that grow near the sculpture site, a common source for the seeds the finches feed upon during the autumn months. Solar panels mounted on the artwork act as a back-up when there isn't sufficient wind to turn the sails.

The artist states: "In the 21st century, we lead extraordinarily busy lives in densely populated areas with high levels of traffic noise. We tend to not hear the wind in the trees or the bird song coming from our feathered friends high up in the braches. Bird Song Listening Station helps remind us of sounds that are ever present in the natural world, but often unnoticed. In the western world we are quite used to turning on computers or charging our cellular phones without much awareness of the source of that energy. How is energy made, what are the byproducts and which are the wisest choices in generating power for our lives? I hope Bird Song Listening Station helps bring focus to these issues in our life. As an artist/engineer, my intention is to execute sight and sound with as much beauty as possible."