Reading The Birds (2014)
This is a recording of a performance made during 2014 of a public reading of The Birds by Daphne du Maurier. The reading took place at dusk under a tree in Brunswick along the Upfield Bike Path, in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, where many wild urban birds settle noisily for the night. The performance Reading The Birds took place on 31 October, Hallowe’en, an appropriate evening for a revenge of nature thriller to be heard. While dated in writing style and tone, the story powerfully retains its nightmarish quality especially as the environmental crisis that the birds’ actions symbolize remains highly pertinent today.
The birds and I share the noisy urban setting as our voices overlap, mingle and sometimes disappear completely, drowned out by the trains and traffic. This vocal mix, where it is a constant struggle to be heard, is a keen part of the performance and the recording retains this complexity through its raw and unedited state, at the same time acknowledging the ambiguous relationship we tend to have with common wild city birds. The reading is 1.5 hours.
Curated by Camilla Hannan for Trainspotters INC as part of MoreArt Moreland City Council Public Art Show Melbourne.
Recording Credit Martin Kay
Photograph Credit Annalea Beattie