The two-part room installation Contact Call makes use of the most effective “mating calls” of our time, employing the competing sounds of mobile phones, telephones and fax machines to draw the attention of visitors. These acoustic signals are not actually technical in origin but are perfectly imitated by two African Grey Parrots.
This gifted bird species demonstrates both in its natural biological habitat and when living with human beings an astonishing ability to adapt tonal sequences – precisely those sounds that draw the interest of the social environment in a meaningful way are incorporated into the birds’ verbal repertoire.
In the exhibition room, a peephole makes it possible to establish contact with the alluring sources of these sounds, who peer back out of the boxes, satisfied by the attention given to them, or regale their audience with a presentation of their language skills: “Are you there? I am here!”
Contact Call plays with the simplest elements of communication among human beings, machines and animals as well as with the desire for attention and reflection, for seeing and being seen.
2 wooden boxes, painted white
2 stair landings, metal and wood
2 MacBooks with proximity sensors
2 radio motion detectors