The city with a bird perspective

Photo Stefan Kraupner, stencil design Christoph Matt

In Göteborg, the Conference of the Birds focuses on Frihamnen, a part of the former industrial harbor that has transformed from bird-rich reeds and wetlands, to industrial environments and prospective resi­dential areas.

During the three day public event in October 2022 of The city with a bird perspective / Staden med ett fågelperspektiv the artist and curator Ulrika Jansson introduced the birds of Frihamnen from a historical perspective till today. She invited the participants to form a closer relationship to the site’s historic bird life through the wetland choir. Here the participants tried to recreate the soundscape of wetland birds with their voices, that previously could be heard from the harbour all the way to the city centre of Göteborg during the 19th century.

In the Bring Birds Back workshop, Eco-social designer Christoph Matt from Austria aimed to reconnect people with three bird species linked to the past, present and future of the site through a design walk with communication materials.

Performance artist Pernilla Ljungkvist conducted the participatory performance titled Andefågeln – Becoming Spirit Bird, in which the audience, arranged in a plow formation reminiscent of migrating birds, listened to a sound piece through headphones and moving their bodies in a shaking manner with closed eyes.

Leif Lithander delved into the historical and contemporary presence of birds in the city, connecting urban place names like Ramberget (Ram, signifying raven) and Getebergsäng (Getabur, representing eagle owl) to the city’s rich avian history. 

In con­nection with the art events there was also a seminar at Norges Hus with talks about problems and opportunities for urban birds in Sweden. The speakers at the seminar were Jan Westin zoologist, Leif Lithander zoologist and Håkan Billing, BirdLife Oslo.

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