1) caged/uncaged (Martha’s Peel) is a 12 ft high x 8 ft diameter cylindrical, open wooden structure resembling a minimalist, birdcage. At the center of the floor of the cage, a mechanically rotating seat allows the viewer to turn inside the cage and confront the notion of extinction from Martha’s “point of view.”

In order to facilitate and expand the process of contemplation, the viewer is invited to:
a) draw or write on the Masonite chalkboard floor, and/or
b) play an instrument or vocalize while turning on the seat, and/or
c) explore movement inside the caged ambience of the circular space.

Martha, in her own way, would have engaged in all three of these activities—rubbing her beak on a chalky block, cooing/emoting, and moving throughout her avian prison—as she unwittingly lived out her days as the last of her species.

The video camera mounted on the cage ceiling provides a live, real-time feed on a large monitor on the wall, can also record (with permission) the actions of the viewer from above (bird’s eye view). This recorded video footage will thus give the flock of viewers a chance both to participate in the installation and, ultimately, to collaborate in the production of a new work.




  1. Dan Yashinsky says:

    These related pieces of art teach us how to listen beyond the bandwidth of conventional reception. Even the ghost voices of disappeared birds prove to carry a wisdom we ignore at our peril. Michael Pestel brings art close to a ritual of observance and commemoration, and reminds us that we ourselves are always at risk of losing the signal of our own, best humanity. The extinct Martha, ambassador and prophet, still coos her solitary warning, if only we stay alert in our listening.

  2. Sounds like a fabulous and poignant exhibit!

Comments are closed.