Two Installations

Wave Hill, Bronx, New York

June-August 2002

“Haunt” consists of two works that take place at the historic grounds of Wave Hill in the Bronx, New York.  The term “haunt” refers to “a place frequented” but also to a spiritual presence.

“Haunt (Cantus),” is a sound work that takes place on the grounds of Wave Hillʼs lovely botanical gardens.  Using ornithological histories and studies, the artist has devised a list of birds that frequent this area.  The latin names for these birds was extracted into a list.  This list of Latin bird names were sung in a sound studio by mezzo-soprano Erin Neff in a variety of liturgical styles.  This recording session was turned into a compact disc which is played in random mode from speakers secreted within the pergola staircase of the garden.  Thus one can hear the Latin source names for the birds as one would read the latin source names for the plantings. 

The interior installation deals with the silence of birds, those who no longer travel through Wave Hill because of extinction or changing migration patterns. “Haunt (mortualia taciturnus)” uses the names of these birds applied with pale pearlescent letters that fade away against the curving wall of the stairwell.  One can read these names by walking up and down the staircase and catching the subtle presence of letters against the changing light.