Tate St Ives Commission | Sammy Lee: Aviary

1 Oct 2021–9 Jan 2022


Through the aviary portal between the physical and digital realms, artist Sammy Lee invites us to birdwatch in multi-dimensions.

AVIARY, Tate St Ives’s Winter Light commission 2021, is a virtual, data-driven environment by artist Sammy Lee. The computer-simulated birds are projected onto the ceiling of Tate St Ives’s entrance every evening and streamed online 24/7.

The digital birds are directly connected to the state of our planet. Their flocking behaviours are determined by environmental events as they happen across the globe. From distant earthquakes to local flooding, real-time data capture nature’s order and entropy. The flight patterns of the birds respond unpredictably as digital information filters in.

As symbolic carriers of information, cautionary tales, and wandering souls, each bird species has been selected for its historic and mythological association with Cornwall and the UK.

Accompanying AVIARY 360° on YouTube is a soundwork by Ebe Oke and Robert M. Thomas. Oke and Thomas have resampled bird sounds from across the world, applying machine learning and generative algorithms to create an infinite and non-repeating soundscape. AVIARY was developed in collaboration with Clifford Sage (Visual Production); Ebe Oke and Robert M Thomas (Livestream Soundscape); Off World Live (360° Livestream and technical support); JHAV (AV Production). With thanks to M.J. Harding.


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