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e. Menura superba

e. Menura superba is an an illuminated, interactive, computational, sculptural piece, which takes the form of a Lyrebird. The work blends the art of taxidermy with the notion of virtual pets to explores the paradox between our fascination with the exotic, and our potentially dystopic future devoid of many animal species. Here, antique and contemporary aesthetics are fused with refined post consumer waste materials to create a simulacrum of a Lyrebird.

The stance of the bird in this sculpture is informed by ornithologist John Gould’s some what inaccurate illustration of a Lyrebird in his landmark publication Birds of Australia. The human fascination with the Lyrebirds stems from its remarkable ability to mimic sound. Lyrebirds have been documented making sounds such as camera shutters, flute and piano melodies, and chain saws. This repertoire has value beyond mere curiosity. It is also an interesting indicator of the Lyrebird’s acoustic environment that has evolved to encompass human sound pollution - an often-overlooked interaction between humanity and the natural world.

In this work the naturally shy lyrebird, becomes curious following people’s movement with its face recognition software. It uses its complex call to invite people to come closer, changing the colour of its plumage to mimic clothing colours worn by the audience it attracts.

e. Menura superba was selected and exhibited in the International Symposium of Electronic Arts Juried exhibition in Belfast August 2009.

Work credits:
Original concept: Priscilla Bracks & Gavin Sade (Kuuki)
Sculptural design and modelling for skeleton: Priscilla Bracks
Interaction design and programming: Gavin Sade
Programming: Glen Wetherall
Wood work (screen): Richard Vaughan
Metal work (bird skeleton, feet and beak): Dayataminda Rajpatarina
Sculptural finishes (feathers & ornamentation): Priscilla Bracks


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