Feather Tales II
An installation by Ricardo O'Nascimento and Ebru Kurbak
Secrets tempt their keepers with disclosure, but also make them constantly live with the fear of the consequences of revelation. Whereas for us outsiders, secrets are only interesting if we are aware that they exist. Unaware of their existence, we are careless, ignorant, and unbothered. Once we recognize an undisclosed affair, we are driven towards it with inquisitiveness. Revealing the secret might end up with disappointment, whereas a well-kept secret that vaguely shows itself remains intriguing and might create mindful awareness.
Feather Tales II is a responsive environment that arose from an imaginary scenario in which a secretive dialogue between electromagnetic waves and their material surroundings become vaguely visible, thus captivating. The surfaces in the exhibition space that are covered with feathers become hypersensitive to waves emitted by mobile communication devices. Whenever electronic signals haunt the space the surfaces start to show involuntary reactions. These reactions are presented in the form of horripilation, the involuntary erection of feathers also known as ‘goose bumps’. Goose bumps are physiological phenomena that can occur in animals in a variety of emotional states, such as irritation, fear, admiration, and sexual desire. Thus, in Feather Tales the existence of a secret dialogue becomes visible to the visitors, whereas the causing emotions remain unknown.
The installation is composed of 200 reactive units that hold 1000 white ostrich feathers distributed in the Sala de Columnas of LABoral. Each reactive unit includes an electromagnetic signal sensor, a processor, a servo motor and movable feathers. When a signal is detected in the proximity of a sensor, the feathers start to flicker and move accordingly. The units are sensitive to a variety of frequencies ranging from mobile telephony to WiFi and bluetooth. Hence, the visitors are provided with the chance to interact with the environment using their personal devices.
Feather Tales II is one of the three works awarded in the call Project's Office by LABoral.