Client: Esbjerg Municipality
Location: Wadden Sea, Denmark
Completion date: 2017
Artwork budget: $375,000
Digital Ornithology is an immersive installation for the Wadden Sea Centre in Denmark that represents the 12 million migratory birds and the unique landscape of the National Park. It follows a journey of exploration and discovery revealing the unique habitat and behaviours of native birds. Projection mapping of live footage dovetails into 562 suspended LCD screens bringing dynamic take offs and landings into close proximity. The light-modulating behaviour of LCDs is sequenced to represent shifting murmurations offering an ephemeral and inquisitive acquaintance with this captivating natural phenomenon.
Jason Bruges Studio were briefed to create the final room in the exhibition sequence, and to provide an exhilarating climax that harnesses the energy of the enormous number of birds gathering and leaving the region in the winter. The art commission was incorporated to build on a multi-sensory approach to learning. Rather than offering a didactic message, the installation provides an experiential, evocative moment which delivers a simulation of being amongst birds as they perform an amazing migratory phenomenon. By giving visitors an emotive understanding of the bird’s behaviours, Digital Ornithology highlights the wonder of nature and captures the importance of protecting our ecosystems as they face surmounting threats from harmful human activity.
This project offered a rare opportunity to allow the architectural design of the building to develop alongside the design of the exhibition. This came with its benefits but also its challenges. Jason Bruges Studio did not only have to consider the design of the installation itself but also had to work closely with the project architects to understand and transform the dynamics of the whole space. JBS also collaborated with the exhibition designers, JAC Studio's throughout. Understanding the narrative sequence of the exhibition was paramount in order to provide finale that makes sense as part of the wider display. The collaboration within the design team was dynamic and inspiring and is reflected in the successful outcome of the project which has gone on to win numerous awards.