Across the country, in both urban and rural places, one can find shoes that have been tied together and slung over a power line. Inspired by this “shoe graffiti,” artist Christian Bermudez created three “pairs” of wooden birdhouse sneakers. The Birdhouse Project was rolled out on the streets of Lillehammer, Norway from April to September of this year, when it offered migrating Pied Flycatcher birds a place to rest.
Bermudez’ birdhouses were designed to create temporary homes for the Pied Flycatcher. The birds migrate from their homes in Norway to West Africa each year, seeking shelter along the way. The birdhouses provide respite in Lillehammer’s urbanized area, where they hang from power lines and street lamps.
In order for the Pied Flycatcher to be attracted to the birdhouses, Bermudez studied their characteristics and applied them to the modules. Aspects such as materials, dimensions, durability, waterproofing and height were carefully factored into the project’s final design. The pieces were made by gluing layer upon layer of thin wood to create orb-like modules. Bermudez was careful to use environmentally friendly glue, and FSC-certified wood in the process.
After much pressing, cutting, and drying, the shoe-shaped birdhouses were ready to hang. The “soles” of the birdhouses were left removable – making each cleanable and therefore reusable once the flock has moved on. Bermudez also installed a compartment for a webcam to facilitate study of the tiny birds.
The quirky public birdhouse installation creates a dialogue between man, nature, and art – and its relation to the urban setting. The Birdhouse Project fostered Pied Flycatchers this year, and it should reappear next season.