Parrots Meet Art In P?z Art Museum’s Exhibit “Speechless”

The parrots have been taught phrases from T.S. Elliot? poem, ?he Waste Land,?as part of the exhibit theme of how humans negatively impact on the world.

The parrots have been taught phrases from T.S. Elliot? poem, ?he Waste Land,?as part of the exhibit theme of how humans negatively impact on the world.


Screencap/YouTube
One of the parrots of the art exhibit interacts with artist, Jos Van der Pol.

When parrots meet art, it? usually a pet bird chewing and ultimately destroying a painting. But a new exhibit at the P?z Art Museum in Miami, Florida is redefining that, by hosting a group of parrots in one of its new exhibits.

The exhibit, called Speechless, according to the museum, is:

o new work by the Rotterdam-based artistic duo Bik Van der Pol (Liesbeth Bik and Jos Van der Pol), [and] is a multilayered exploration of how we speak about the precarious state of the natural world. The work consists of a custom-built aviary, which houses five parrots taught to mimic phrases from T.S. Elliot? seminal 1922 poem, ?he Waste Land,?comparing landscape devastated by war to the ecological devastation of today. The aviary is furnished with a jumble of sculptural letters that spell out the terms ?lobal warming,??limate change,?and ?ustainability.?Part poetic gesture and radical expression, Speechless addresses the power of language within political contexts, and our ability to understand and discuss environmental degradation. The work was inspired, in part, by recent debate in Florida? state government regarding the use of controversial terms such as ?limate change?and ?lobal warming.?Speechless draws on the uncanny ability of parrots to mimic human speech as a way of exploring the Aristotelian notion that we are political animals, constantly engaged in attempts to influence and govern one another. Historically, the human capacity for verbal language has been used as a point of separation between animals and ourselves. This separation has, in turn, helped to accelerate our exploitation of the natural world. By incorporating animals that literally speak back to us, the artists envision a situation in which language serves to unite, rather than to divide, humans from animals, with hopes that this reunification may help us address the urgent ecological crises that we face today. 

You can watch a video of the artists explaining the work too.

So who are these parrots featured in the art exhibit. According to the museum:

The parrots in this exhibition, Cleo, David, Paco, Zach and Jany, are on loan to the museum from a private individual. They were bred in captivity and regularly appear in a variety of public capacities, such as movies, commercials and public events. While at PAMM, their care is being managed by one of the nation? leading avian veterinarians. Following the exhibition, they will be returned to their Miami home, where they will continue to live together.

What do you think about this new exhibit? Will you be going to see it?

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