The other day while hiking, I passed a woman with a bird cage strapped to her back. Inside, a parrot perched facing the panorama, taking in the morning mountainscape and gaping me.
Still bemused by that tropical apparition, I offer another avian enchantment: Forgotten Songs by Michael Thomas Hill flies above an alleyway in Sydney, Australia, a suspended elegy to the birds that once populated Angel Place. The original work, presented as a temporary installation in 2009, found 110 empty birdcages strung between buildings accompanied by a sound installation of bird calls. Beloved by Sydneysiders and visitors alike, the piece became a permanent fixture of the revitalized area: now 180 new rustproof cages are joined by 10 speakers playing the bygone birdsongs. Linking flight and feet, engraved pavers share the names of the 50 crooning species (some seem Seussian: Southern Boobook, Tawny Frogmouth, Little Lorikeet). A mobile of shapes and sounds, a magical curtain echoed in this Isabel Marant mini, a sensory canopy: Forgotten Songs triggers wonder. As do trailside parrots.