"Bird Radio and the Eames Chair Lounge"
Bill Burns, "Bird Radio and the Eames Chair Lounge," installation.
BILL BURNS: Bird Radio and the Eames Chair Lounge
September 28 to January 6, 2012
Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon
By Margaret Bessai
This fall, Bill Burns, artist and CEO of “Safety Gear for Small Animals”, invites gallery visitors to create and broadcast Bird Radio, the sounds of 17 birds endemic to the regions of Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, and Canada. Listeners can enjoy the sounds of the cuckoo, jay, starling, nightingale, song thrush and more by taking a seat in the Eames Chair Lounge, or tuning in outside the gallery space. The installation helpfully includes a 52-page guidebook in English and German, with instructions on the proper use of the birdcall devices, a video demonstrating birdcalls and bird information gathered by Toronto schoolchildren, and schematic blueprints depicting sonograms. The modernist iconography gives shape to an essentially invisible medium, hinting at the ongoing history of radio in war and democracy. Burns is a Toronto based artist who grew up in Regina. His work has been shown and collected internationally, including at the Tate Britain in London, MoMA in New York, Regina’s MacKenzie Art Gallery and the Getty Center in Los Angeles. His sculpture, photographs, multiples and bookworks, invitingly playful, sincere yet humorous, open questions on current social issues.