Chorus, 2017

Installation view, Manchester Museum, United Kingdom

Chorus
2017
painted FRP, metal, speakers single channel audio
107 x 119 x 75 in. I 272 x 302 x 190 cm.

Chorus is modeled on pre-radar listening devices used to locate enemy aircrafts during the Second World War. The large dishes in these surveillance devices are called acoustic mirrors and were used to pick up engine sounds. Reena has replaced sounds of aircrafts with bird songs in an act of playful subversion. A visitor stepping into the sculpture will hear the national birds of various border-sharing countries singing in unison; such as the peacock (India) with the chukar (Pakistan) or the Palestinian sun bird (Palestine) with the hoopoe (Israel). Though appropriated as national symbols by one or the other nation, these bird species inhabit both, being citizens only of a particular terrain and climate that no country can claim ownership to. As the artist points out, while national symbols were meant to unite people of a particular country or region, they frequently become points of contestation and conflict between countries which cannot look beyond narrow nationalism. “The interlaced chorus of freely drifting birds in Chorus alludes to nature’s defiance of artificially imposed, man-made divisions”

reference sketch