Have you ever wondered what a library for birds would actually look like? Would it be incredibly well-organized or unbelievably messy? To Mark Dion it must look something like this. He created “Library for the Birds of Massachusetts” a thought-provoking installation for MASS MoCA back in 2005. He surrounded one maple tree with a smattering of books on subjects like science, biology, ornithology in addition to hunting paraphernalia, pictures, bird feeders, and hanging nets.
The most shocking of all is that he also made this home to 12 real-life Zebra finches who were calmly flying about. Visitors could actually walk inside the cylindrical steel aviary, becoming a part of the installation itself.
Whimsical as it may seem, Dion’s work has a serious undertone. The American fine artist work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. In essence, this installation is meant for us to question our own foundation of knowledge or how we collect and assemble pieces of information in our own heads.
Mark Dion will return to the MASS MoCA in March 2013 for The Octagon Room, another interesting installation that will blur the boundaries between art, society and history. Must continue to watch his work.