A Birds Universe

site specific glass, crystal glass, wood, bird ashes, water, 2021

A bird’s universe is inspired by the discovery of three deceased birds and offers a curious perspective on the natural cycle of life. On this journey and playful research I explore the transformation of what remains from their physical bodies as well as their spirit. By questioning as to where their lifeforce and energy may have gone after the moment we call death and how this relates to the remaining corporeal shell containing the minerals of life. 

The three birds, simply specified as A, B & C, were found at the Cigar Factory of Vossen Breuers in Tegelen [NL] during my residency at Destination Unknown 2021. On three separate locations within the building, also corresponding and indicated with A, B & C, the remains of each bird gave a small glimpse into the liveliness they once carried inside. Their presence is barely noticeable at this time, as we are confronted with the fact that their short and fleeting existence has already come to an end. However through A bird’s universe I aim to shine light on alternative views and ways we can interact with the subject of mortality & death. Countering common beliefs and fears but also with a hopeful outlook to inspire a deeper sense of understanding and harmony.


A: Spiral

life, creation, birth and rebirth, evolution, awareness, growth and development 

Spirals are a recurring phenomenon that we may perceive in many different facets of life & the universe. Being one of the most ancient and universal symbols, it is found within many of our earthly cultures and carries with it strong spiritual beliefs & claims of near mystical properties. To this day it is used as a symbol for the mystery of birth & femininity but also resembles the path of enlightenment, a sense of divine knowledge and inner harmony.


The spiral has a pulsating nature, its rings steadily grow outwards in a characteristically perpetual movement which is almost synonymous with the universal pattern of natural growth and evolution. Quite literally it is in fact to be found within the movement of electrons and the physical reality we perceive, such as in the shape of a snailhouse or the leaves of a fern. 

As a gesture on the lifeforce of bird A the minerals of his earthly body alongside a vital component for sustaining life (water) were combined and placed into a hand-blown glass spiral. The water in this case is a representation of wisdom, peace, and purity. A formless reflection of spirit and the interconnection between all creation. 


B: Hourglass

time, motion, rhythm, relativity, past, present and future


Throughout the ages we as humankind have adopted a concept of time in which it is presented almost as a resource, precise and predetermined, in close connection to our fast-paced societies and every day hurry. The measuring tools we use provide a collective plane, however the experience of time itself is also very much subjective and personal in nature. We may also question how time is interpreted by other beings. For instance bird B may have lived for up to 5 years by our notion, but it was a full lifetime from its point of view nonetheless.


For this second intervention we look towards an iconic symbol for time, the hourglass. The ashes from bird B were placed inside an hourglass, the object no longer counts time within the known cultural system, but rather we are offered the opportunity to witness a full lifetime passing by in the blink of an eye.


Through Bird B we may become susceptible to other perspectives on both the life of this small bird, but also reflect upon the relativity and subjectiveness of our own lifespan. Revisiting our general beliefs on time, our view on life itself, potentially embracing time as a sensory experience wanting us to feel, listening to our primal instincts and observing natural cycles. 



C: Marble Run

movement, matter, energy, separation & oneness, transformation, consciousness

The reality we experience may be viewed as a three-dimensional web of matter held together by unseen forces and energy currents. Guided by what we call our consciousness or soul we move around within this vessel, a physical manifestation, our body, which allows us to experience and interact with the physical world. The separation we feel is a result of space and time, we are adrift as individuals, not lost, but momentarily detached from our origin and each other. However we are all born from the great consciousness of the universe, and when we pass away our physical body merges with the environment while our spiritual essence flows back to the unknown. It is a beautiful play of constant transformation and movement of matter & energy, flowing back and forth, shaping and creating physicality & life. 

The Marble Run is a collaboration with Bird C intended as a reflection on death, approaching it as a step into the cycle of continuation and the circle of life rather than the commonly feared definitive “end”. A plea to become sensitive to the oneness within the universe. As such the body of bird C forms the basis for several new physical manifestations. Within eight marbles its mineral remains are contained, we find the ashes as small swirls, the movement of creation encased in glass. Presented in a circular shaped marble run the audience may interact and play with these marbles. Creating a new motion and flow of energy to revive bird C’s presence. A reminder that transformation brings about the potential for life to manifest itself again in order to experience reality anew from another perspective. By doing so we may all play a part in expanding the collective knowledge of the universe.