A Ubiquity of Sparrows: Banff Installation
In referencing text from interviews I have done of eyewitnesses to the “War on Sparrows” and the Great Leap Forward, I wanted to create an installation incorporating visual references to those narratives. I created drawings which I then screen-printed on small pieces of linen, as flax, from which linen is made, was one of the grain crops that sparrows favoured. I then made each linen piece into a pouch containing 2.5 grams of feathers, which is the weight of feathers on a single sparrow.
In doing the interviews, the majority of people I talked to requested that their names not be used - that they remain anonymous. This often extended to the second generation in families that I talked to. The phrase that frequently came up was "I feel ashamed". In acknowledgement of this, I created a Chinese chop, or signature which says "Anonymous". I also screen printed this onto linen which was also used for the feather pouches.
I strung these pouches up in garlands using red cord, and strung them between bamboo poles, referencing the way in which the garlands of sparrows were paraded through the towns and cities.
Ultimately, it would be multiples of this work which are installed. For example: There would be at least 3 tiers of garlands, each set
Thinking about what makes some bird species such as the sparrow so successful in their environments, I considered the collective noun for a flock of sparrows, “a ubiquity”.
I can't help but reflect upon the fact that an antonym for ubiquity is absence.
... an antonym for ubiquity is absence.