Surbhi Mittal / Marie Jocelyn Marfil / Matt Mason / Matthew Lyons

The Last Aviary There Ever Was

A highlight of the Anthropocene had been the fast disappearing bird songs and the ever present drones & hums of technology. The liminal spaces between the both, humans tried to fill with music, bridging the chasm between a past they could not hold on to and a future they did not want.

This piece was the humans’ attempt to bid goodbye to the birds in the last aviary there ever was.

She closes the book and drapes her scarf around her neck before stepping into the hazmat suit. To mark the momentous occasion, she chooses to walk, rather than teleport. Walking is dangerous these days, for it allows your mind to think freely, and when it thinks freely it goes to places that the surveillance drone-birds would be unhappy about.

But today is not a day to worry about that. She picks up her Bandurria, marked with a code that certifies her right to play it, and begins her journey towards the aviary.

He sits at the entrance to the aviary, tuning his guitar. He did not want to come today. Goodbyes are hard as they have always been and with this one he will bid adieu to the last tangible memory of his lineage. After all, the Warblers that his ancestors rescued over a century ago had made their home in this aviary.

But today the machines will be ‘setting the birds free’ into the wilderness, where no bird can survive.

The man at the piano decides to speak to the machines one last time. He knows he has gotten through to the machines in the past — they’ve always had an understanding. He owes it to the birds who inspired his song and taught him to trust his song.

But the machines have made up their minds. The birds must be freed.

The year is 2409. The trio prepares to bid goodbye to the Last Aviary There Ever Was.