Weekend arts pick: Biodiversity meets sound art with “17,000 Observations” at Laguna Gloria

It’s free. And it’s at the glorious Laguna Gloria site.

Part installation, part sound art riff on nature “17,000 Observations” launches Sunday.

Los Angeles artists Lucky Dragons (Sarah Rara and Luke Fischbeck) present their site-specific artwork inspired by the vast biological diversity of Laguna Gloria.

A sculptural mobile of circular mirrors will be suspended between trees across one of the footpaths on the lakeside peninsula. Accompanying the mirrored natural views is a sound track of a field recording made over a 24-hour period in which the songs and calls of numerous bird species are manipulated, overlapped and modulated.

On Sunday Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. a live ensemble will accompany a public presentation of the 30-minute manipulated field recording.

The “17,000 Observations” project takes its name from the fact that Laguna Gloria has one of the highest levels of species diversity in Travis County. The site has long been one of the most popular birding destinations in Texas.

A Yellow-Crowned Night Heron wades the marshes at Laguna Gloria. Photo  Martin do Nascimento/AMERICAN-STATESMAN
A Yellow-Crowned Night Heron wades the marshes at Laguna Gloria. Photo by Martin do Nascimento/AMERICAN-STATESMAN

A recent ecological site assessment for Laguna Gloria and the neighboring Mayfield Park revealed that birders documented 17,000 observations of birds in the Laguna Gloria and Mayfield Park area of which 16,443 were at Laguna Gloria.

Through Dec. 9 visitors to Laguna Gloria can access the “17,000 Observations” recording of the performance and view the sculptural installation through Dec. 9.

Contemporary Austin, Laguna Gloria, 3809 W. 35th St. Free. thecontemporaryaustin.org

Author: Jeanne Claire van Ryzin

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the arts critic for the Austin American-Statesman. She writes about visual art, theater, dance, music, performance, public art, architecture and just about any combination thereof.

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