Birdsong Compliance

Birdsong Compliance is a series of poems using John Cage and Joan Retallack’s interviews in MUSICAGE as a source material and conceptual basis. It is an experiment in positional contexts, in which poetic texts are produced using both fixed and random animation combined with user interaction through scrolling, creating a parallax effect.

In the work, two overlapping texts interact with each other, one forming a background over which the other ‘performs’. These texts range from fragments of words which must fuse to form complete words, to entire sentences which form agreements and tensions depending on their spatial relation to each other. The reader must use the scroll bar, scroll arrows or mouse wheel to displace the foreground text, slotting it into a number of possible places to complete the text. The directional nature of the scrolling, combined with the economising of fragments (the same linguistic material of the background interacting with multiple texts) and the timed animations means that texts in one instantiation inform subsequent readings when the positions are changed.

Instructions for Use

To use the work, open a scene and experiment with scrolling. In certain locations, the text will make ‘sense’ and the animative qualities of the text will help produce readings.

Technical Requirements for Use

  • Fairly recent operating system (Windows XP or Vista, Mac OS X) with fairly recent web browser (IE7+, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Camino)
  • Recent Adobe Flash plugin
  • CSS enabled
  • Javascript enabled and the ability to open links in pop-up window ENABLED (check this if the work does not launch in a new window using the links below)


Click on a thumbnail below to open that scene.