Murder of Crows at Park Avenue Armory

By Emmy Lee | Posted on August 16th, 2012

I would very much like to be in New York to experience the sound installation The Murder of Crows by Janet Cardiff and Georges Bures Miller which is on view at Park Avenue Armory in the massive Drill Hall until September 9th. The 30-minute work is projected on 98 speakers and interweaves a variety of sounds including spoken dream narratives, the singing of a Russian men’s choir, crows cawing, the din of a factory in motion and Cardiff singing a lullaby written by Miller. Its title refers to the disturbing phenomenon of a “crow funeral” in which the dark birds bemoan their fallen compatriots through their distressed caws, sometimes carrying on the ritual for as long as 24 hours. The work sounds at once surreal, disquieting and enigmatic and Cardiff states disparate inspirations ranging from Francisco de Goya’s well-known etching The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters (1799), the films of David Lynch and the dreams she experienced while in Kathmandu between 2007 and 2008 while awaiting the adoption of their daughter (Cardiff and Miller are married as well as working collaboratively.) Cardiff describes the work as a “requiem for our age.”


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