Paloma & Here and Now

Submitted by Arnaud Giroud

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Client: Discovery Green Conservancy

Location: Houston, TX, United States

Completion date: 2019

Artwork budget: $175,000

Project Team

Artist

Arnaud Giroud

Pitaya

Artist

David Lesort

Pitaya

Artist

Lina Dib

Programming Director

Susanne Theis

Discovery Green

Art Advisor

Lea Weingarten

Weingarten Art Group

Project Manager

Piper Faust

Weingarten Art Group

Overview

A flock of 200 aluminum luminous birds settle in among the century-old live oak trees along the Brown Promenade in Discovery Green Park in Houston, Texas. During the day, the birds appear to be origami sculptures with cheerful touches of colors. As the night falls, their white light creates a poetic and contemplative atmosphere. A dynamic light program animates the bird forms, creating an illusion of a flying flock over visitors’ heads. “Here and Now,” a multi-channel sound installation by Houston-based artist Lina Dib, accompanies “Paloma” to create an immersive environment of bird and human sounds focusing on movement and global migration. Part III of a sonic triptych, the audio installation focuses on the biological phenomenon of Zugunruhe, a word used to describe a certain kind of restlessness animals exhibit when they feel the compulsion to migrate. “Here and Now” points to Houston’s diversity and highlights ways that life on earth is marked by, and even sustained by, movement. The choreographed sounds dance along the Brown Promenade in conversation with Pitaya’s sculptures, revealing and illuminating the magnificent oak trees of Discovery Green.

Goals

Pitaya has worked with similar bird forms at various locations throughout the world. The challenge at Discovery Green was to rethink the installation so that it became a truly site-specific and immersive environment for the Winter season. Pitaya wanted the beautiful live oak trees to be highlighted in a strategic way. They ended up selecting 200 birds installed in a migratory pattern so that the birds appear to be in flight with the assistance of a dynamic light program. The result was magical! Pitaya partnered with Houston-based artist, Lina Dib, who created a site-specific sound artwork based on migratory birds. The marriage of the physical light birds and the sound created a completely immersive experience for park visitors at Discovery Green.

Process

Pitaya and Lina Dib collaborated with each other and with Discovery Green as the intentions for activating the Brown Promenade space within the park were revealed. The park wanted a more dynamic presence during the day, so we mutually agreed to add colors to each Paloma bird to increase the daytime visibility. In order to do so, Discovery Green hosted a “painting party” for its park members to come out and paint the birds onsite. This gave the park community a truly hands-on experience and allowed them to be part of the process.

Pitaya and Dib teamed up on the bird placements as they related to the audio experience to create an immersive light and audio experience for park visitors. The result was a beautifully contemplative environment to celebrate the Winter season at Discovery Green!