Flying Gardens of Possibly | Audubon


In 2012 Andrew S. Yang was chatting with a colleague about Charles Darwin, marveling at how the famed naturalist the moment collected seeds from mud caked onto a chicken and grew 82 crops symbolizing 5 species. It received him imagining about the seeds contemporary birds carry. 

Yang, a professor at the Faculty of the Artwork Institute of Chicago, is also a exploration associate at the Area Museum of Organic Historical past, where by experts maintain birds for its permanent assortment. Lots of of those birds died colliding into buildings in the Chicago spot and were introduced in by the volunteer group Chicago Chicken Collision Monitors. 

Every single 12 months, hundreds of hundreds of thousands of birds die just after hitting properties in the United States alone. Every single chicken-strike death is a tragedy, but Yang sees a secondary disaster in their demise: a lifeless conclude for the seeds they consumed—what he calls the “ecology of interruption.” Now a ten years in the earning, his project Flying Gardens of Maybe gives the seeds he removes from casualties’ bellies the everyday living they could have experienced if the fowl ongoing traveling and deposited them on fertile soil.

He throws clay pots and glazes them in colors, patterns, and textures evocative of the seeds’ avian couriers, like White-throated Sparrow, Swainson’s Thrush, Cedar Waxwing, and Canada Goose. Yang crops the seeds in the corresponding vessel, just one pot for every chook. As in nature, some sprout most do not.

“Some people today believe it is horribly grisly,” Yang says. “I see it as celebrating the birds and the vegetation.” A way to honor and provide consideration to daily life needlessly dropped. 

Within the circle is a diagram explaining the artist's concept behind his project The Flying Gardens of Maybe. Small illustrations convey the birds hitting buildings, the collection of their remains, the removal of seeds from their carcasses, which are planted and generate new life.

Yang, whose Ph.D. is in ecology and evolution, hopes people come away from his task with a better feeling of interconnectedness. “Birders are interested in birds, plant people today are fascinated in crops, persons who live in the metropolis are interested in skyscrapers, and all of these factors interact together in different methods, for better or for even worse,” he claims. “I would hope that an individual would occur absent with a minor far more of a intricate understanding about these interrelationships.”

In some cases, alternatively of planting the seeds, Yang returns them to his have back again porch feeder in the hope that a further bird will arrive along and support them continue their journey. Yang has also photographed the seeds, stones, and insect fragments he has identified and printed postcards to be sent by airmail, so the seeds can, at least metaphorically, fly yet again.

This story originally ran in the Spring 2022 issue. To get our print magazine, come to be a member by making a donation currently.



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