Sydney June 2014 (2 photos)
Forgotten Songs, a permanent street art installation by Michael Thomas Hill, commemorates fifty birds and their songs, once heard in central Sydney before they were gradually forced out of the city by European settlement. The calls, which filter down from the canopy of birdcages suspended above, change as day shifts to night; the daytime birds’ songs disappearing with the sun and those of the nocturnal birds which inhabited the area sounding into the evening. At night, you may hear the Australian Owlet-nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth and White-throated Nightjar.
I’d always wanted to photograph this artwork at night and I took a moment to do so when out photographing the Vivid Sydney festival recently.* It looks and feels different at night.**
Listening to the calls and cries of the owls, I noticed shadows and silhouettes passing me by, oblivious to what was above their heads. The empty cages reminding us of that part of nature that has been lost. I looked up and blinked. Was that the silhouette of an owl I saw overhead? I blinked again and it was gone but the cry of the owls continued to echo in the lane.
Like the owls, I moved on: unseen and unnoticed.
*For easy reference, I’ve now created a separate page for my Vivid festival posts in my main menu above.