courtesy the artist
commissioned by Auckland Art Fair with support from Creative New Zealand
Artist Lucy Meyle explores the intricate dynamics of human/non-human animal relationships. Local Branch uses a fallen bird’s nest as a starting point for considering how acts of care and attention can also inadvertently work to extract value.
Meyle has deconstructed the fallen nest, then catalogued the fibres and twigs in a publication that invites audience members to apply for, receive, and relocate a specific twig to the applicant’s yard for use by neighbourhood birds during the 2021 nest-building season. In Local Branch-branded attire, she will be present to hand out catalogues to passers-by, and to encourage them to fill out an application form.
Inverting the process of assemblage that the birds used to make the nest, the distribution of twigs counters the potential desire to retain the complete nest as a static, decorative object. Instead, Local Branch tries to consider the nest as a beautiful functional tool that is cyclically renewed, as a labour-intensive yet commonplace construction made from materials that can be dispersed and reused. At the same time, Local Branch uses the catalogue and the promotional display to introduce narratives around collection, extraction, and possession that are often features of human/non-human animal interaction.
FROM THE ARTIST
“When the nest fell down from the tree in the backyard, I searched for eggs inside and around it and was glad not to find any. The nest was perfect though, with rougher layers of dirt and twigs supporting finer fibres at the centre. It looked very sturdy and seemed to have been constructed over the course of several years. I kept the nest in the garage for two seasons out of indecision and guilt. Pill bugs would occasionally roll over to it for an investigation. Mostly though, it was left alone to sag and subside on the concrete floor next to the garden implements and the extra soil.”
Lucy Meyle will be activating her work on Wednesday 24 February at 1-3pm and 6-8pm; Saturday 27 February at 11am-1pm and 2-4pm.
Image: Lucy Meyle, Local Branch (detail), 2021. Publication, dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist.