Bird and Person Dyning by Alvin Lucier
During this performance a small electric bird chirps in the space and Alvin Lucier moves his head as if trying to locate it by listening to its song. He wears binaural microphones in his ears, and the sound picked up by these microphones is diffused through two loudspeakers. By amplifying the microphone input, feedback between the output of the loudspeakers and the input of the microphones is created. Since the pitch of the feedback is related to the distance between the microphone and loudspeaker and the reflections of the sound in the performance space, every movement of the head of the performer causes a change in feedback sound. At the same time, we also hear the bird amplified through the microphones in the ears of the performer and the sound of the bird interacts with the feedback sound. Therefore, not only the distance between the performer and the loudspeaker but also the distance between performer and bird shape the sound in this piece. Alvin Lucier makes movements that signify listening or, as he himself says, "do you know how robins turn their heads to listen?" (Alvin Lucier Reflections. Interviews, Scores, Writings 1965-1994 Cologne 2005). Listening is made an audible feature of the performance. This is an example of a performance that uses movements that have a specific cultural context and are therefore also connected with a certain expectation. Movements for listening remain mostly silent, but here Alvin Lucier adapts them for a new function and these movements become audible.