Forty five budgies are camping out for the next few weeks in the PS2/PS-Squared gallery on Donegall Street (opposite John Hewitt and up a bit). At the opening last night the budgies were introduced to their new environment. PS2 has two windows looking in on the bird-sized caravans built out of nesting boxes that inhabit the manufactured landscape. There’s also a pool, some wooden ladders, branches and bunting!
The artist responsible for this feathered fantasy land is Catherine Roberts who spent all summer creating the a bird-safe exhibit/holiday park. In the video above she explains the background to the project, her continuing love for birds, and what she hopes people get out of the installation as they walk past the windows on Donegall Street. On the PS2 website she explains:
“This is an uplifting project and its foremost objective is to make people smile. I try to create an outer worldly scene, a voyeuristic spectacle, an updated still life influenced by early Victorian encasements of the natural world. I am looking, whether it is possible for animals to derive pleasure (in a good way) through architectural means etc. My work isn't so much about the critical aspects of bird keeping, it is about the positive. It’s optimistic! Yes there is questioning, but I would like people to come to their own conclusions.”
Budgie Butlins runs until 25 September 2010, with twelve hours daily window viewing and feeding sessions between 1-2pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at Paragon Studios Project Space (PS2).
It's an undeniably bizarre idea, yet last night it was clearly putting a smile on the face of passers-by. Do look in the windows if you’re in the Cathedral Quarter and think about freedom and incarceration, pleasure and appreciation, or whatever else comes to mind. The budgies will hopefully shed their shyness and start to live nearer the windows as time goes on. You can read a bit more about it on Culture Northern Ireland.