To match the beak of a blackbird, leave the house each day at dawn and listen (2008)

dowel in 4 detachable sections 7610mm x 35mm, mild steel, commercial paint, urine, objects
detail of To Match the beak of a blackbird, leave the house each day at dawn and listen
detail of To Match the beak of a blackbird, leave the house each day at dawn and listen
megan calver ©

(Why doesn’t it put up flags on the edge of its territory?
There are droppings.
It doesn’t put up flags because the only thing that won’t be misconstrued is itself. It can only own its own territory by being in it, singing.)

To match the beak of a blackbird, leave the house each day at dawn and listen.  Listen but do not record the song.

(Where does the blackbird’s song go?  What is the residue of the song?  What is the residue of the activity of listening?)

A story develops.  It moves uncertainly from a colour noted, at last, in the listener’s urine.  The colour is matched with an object to hand as it begins to darken.  Each day new matches are made.  An array of objects is gathered, but some of the objects will not last.  All are scanned and translated into household paint at a DIY-store paint-mixing machine.  One pot of paint is chosen and used to colour a hand-held pole.  The pole is offered up to the sky at dawn to match the beak of a bird.

(The song is the flag, the colour that the pole hopes to match.)