It’s believed the machine was built 120 years ago in Paris by Blaise Bontems, a well-known maker of bird automata and was recently refurbished by Michael Start over at The House of Automata.
Singing bird boxes were extremely popular in Europe starting from the 18th century, first as a toy for a privileged few and then later as a more affordable item. Watch this video from The British Clockmaker Ray Bates to see how the bird fit in with the box’s innerworkings:
And below, HD video of a singing bird box made by Jaquet-Droz & Leschot, Switzerland circa 1785:
Commuters in Grand Central Terminal will encounter a new obstacle to making the train on time this week: 30 dancing horses.
It’s part of “Heard NY,” a site-specific performance by the Chicago artist Nick Cave, in collaboration with dancers from the Ailey School. Mr. Cave, known for his Soundsuits— costumelike sculptures that make noise as they move — has created the life-size horses out of colorful raffia. Each fits two dancers and rustles like a corn field when the herd “grazes” in Vanderbilt Hall or suddenly breaks into choreography, set to live percussion, steps from the main concourse.
The idea was to produce a dreamlike vision worth stopping for, Mr. Cave said, as people are rushing through the terminal. “You’re stopped in your tracks,” he said, “and then you do get on the train and you get home. How do you share this, how do you describe — just imagine, coming into Grand Central and you run into 30 horses? That’s when it becomes this transformative moment.”