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Published: 05 June 2021

By Andy Ross

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Something Going On Above My Head

Something Going On Above My Head is an audio-visual piece, a sound installation of the songs and calls of 2000 birds from Africa, Asia, America and Europe, configured to create an orchestra.

Colombian artist Oswaldo Maciá works primarily with sound and smell, using both to question the strongly visual concept of sculpture. In this piece the artist categorised the sounds into pitch collections, allocating each to a specific part of a classical symphony orchestra. Loudspeakers play the sounds, creating a natural soundscape. 

The title of the piece not only plays on the idea of birds as flying creatures, but also acknowledges their oftentimes overlooked nature. Bird songs are frequently perceived as beautiful and lyrical in spite of the fact that many of the calls are actually alarms or threats. In using sound to define space the artist calls into question our relationship with the world that surrounds us.