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Jussi Valtakari: Linnun laulu / Birdsong, 2009. You may not use this photo for commercial purposes. © Photo: Helsinki Art Museum / Taru Tuulia Tittonen

Linnun laulu / Birdsong

Artist Jussi Valtakari

, Helsinki

As its name implies, Birdsong by artist Jussi Valtakari (b. 1955) based on the sounds of birds. The work consists of words that stand for the calls of birds, cut out of stainless polished steel plate and mounted in trees. The environmental artwork is located along Linnunlauluntie (‘Birdsong Road’) in the park-like area populated by old villas near the Töölö Bay. The artist got the idea for the piece when he was reading bird books that describe the calls of birds.

The five birds featured in the piece are Great Spotted Woodpecker, Lapland Bunting, Nightingale, Dunnock and Bearded Reedling. The call of the Dunnock is a high-pitched “iih”. The Great Spotted Woodpecker’s usual call is a loud, sharp “kjyk”, repeated several times. The call of the Lapland Bunting, which is not found in southern Finland, is a short and clear whistle, “djiy”. The compact “ping” belongs to the Bearded Reedling which lives in flocks in the coastlands of southern Finland. The call of the Nightingale is transcribed as “krrr”.

One version of the piece was featured at the Purnu summer exhibition in 2008. The work was unveiled in Helsinki on 30 September 2009. It belongs to the collections of the Helsinki Art Museum.

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