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Instinct Extinct
The Great Pacific Flyway



Bird migration is the one truly unifying natural phenomenon in the world,

stitching the continents together in a way that even the great weather systems,

which roar out from the poles but fizzle at the equator, fail to do. It is an enormously

complex subject, perhaps the most compelling drama in all of natural history.


– Scott Weidensaul
Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds

        California Brown Pelican, The Salton Sea, California 

The exhibition Instinct Extinct: The Great Pacific Flyway was conceived of and created in collaboration with artists Glenda Drew and Ann Savageau. It evolved in response to our mutual appreciation for migratory birds, concerns for their survival and determination to preserve open space.

          With our emphasis on migratory species that traverse California’s borders, we explored a number of sanctuaries throughout the state. Reciprocal observations and research coalesced with our independent ways of working, generating cross-disciplinary strategies and overarching themes including avian anatomy, avian flight and navigation biomechanics, biodiversity, and political ecology.  Artworks were made both collaboratively and individually.             


          My essay of the same title offers an overview of our research, tracking the creative and speculative processes of the exhibition’s works.  A PDF document of the essay can be accessed HERE.  An updated version was published in Leonardo Journal, Volume 52, Number 1, 2019. 

Syrinx Box audio notes
00:00 / 02:19

Syrinx Box, assemblage with audio composition of

wild-sourced birdsong combined with recordings from the Cornell Lab

of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library (including: Clock, Benjamin M., Black-chinned Sparrow, California Towhee, Keller, Geoffrey A., Black Phoebe, Little, Randolph S., Wilson’s Warbler, Marantz, Curtis A., California Thrasher, Sander, Thomas G., Black-headed Grosbeak, Warbling Viroe, Yellow Warbler), 2015

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