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New Public Art: Bird God Drone

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Gone are Ben Snead’s Fish Farm at Clumber Corner and newly arrived in its place is Nick Hornby’s Bird God Drone. Hornby’s Bird God Drone, while looks like a simple structure leading to a single point is actually the outline of Michelangelo’s David, extruded vertically 12 feet up in the air. In Bird God Drone, the silhouette of David’s conquering and classical Renaissance body lies horizontally, flush with the ground, and visible from above: by workers peering out of windows, tourists crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, birds, gods, and drones.

Installed at the intersection of Washington and Prospect Streets, Bird God Drone is presented through a partnership between Two Trees Management CO and NYC Parks’ Art in the Parks program. The sculpture is robotically carved from a synthetic composite to the accuracy of a fraction of a millimeter (+/- 0.8mm). The figurative perfection of Michelangelo’s sculpture is juxtaposed against the Platonic ideal of geometry.

Hornby has derived his outline, not from the original marble carving, but from a white plaster copy from the late 1800s located in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Here, in Brooklyn, Hornby’s sculpture is repositioned in another historical moment of belief in technological progress. It is no longer God and nature alone that view from above, but also drones and satellites, the components of our industrialization of space.

Accompanying this sculpture is a video of the work shot from above by a surveillance drone. The sculpture is designed specifically for this bird’s-eye view, inverting the ‘man on a plinth’ monument which is traditionally viewed from below.

Bird God Drone, 2013. Nick Hornby from Nick Hornby on Vimeo.