Has anyone noticed the bizarre trend in American suburbs of men and women jogging, with headphones, while pushing their children's strollers? Even with the victory of the 8 hour day, people still have to tarry with commuting, marriage and personal fitness in their ongoing quest for leisure time. What we witness in these scenes of provincial distress is the attempt to collapse the responsibilities of the nuclear family with the joys of solitude. But why are we striving for such physical longevity? Is it to work longer, have more children, and therefore perpetually forfeit our basic human need for reverie? How much more we would see, hear and know were the stroller to vanish, the headphones malfunction, and our jog slacken into a stroll--a stroll worthy of Kant, Rousseau, Baudelaire, where we could again hear the natural music of the world around us. Leaves rustling in the breeze. Rippling water whose surface refracts the sun. The laughter of children like a thin muslin wrapped around the landscape. The interconnectivity of things as opposed to the fragmentation of the stereo headset.
One thing we certainly miss in our furious attempt to consolidate work, family and individualized entertainment is the year-long singing of birds. Chirping, trilling, tweeting, peeping, wings beating, bills snapping. Thankfully, with the aid of artist Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, the birds are getting louder. They don't take betrayal lightly and they want to be heard. As one of the most adaptive classes, they're determined to produce bird calls for the machine age.