Bemis Center For Contemporary Arts


Are you an ornithologist?
Do you work with birds?
Are you a bird owner or collector?
A bird watcher or rescuer?
A citizen-scientist or someone who has a special relationship with birds?
Have you spent a lot of time listening to birdsong?
Are you interested in contributing to a new work of art?

If so, we would like to hear from you!


This fall, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts will present a new multimedia installation by Canadian artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens from November 21, 2019 to February 15, 2020. This installation will be developed this summer in collaboration with members of Omaha’s birding community.

Visual artists Richard Ibghy and Marilou Lemmens have been working together since 2002. Their practice explores issues at the intersection of ethics, economy, and practices of measurement. More recently, their work has also been concerned with scientific methods, particularly with experiments conducted in laboratories to study animal cognition.

For their project at Bemis, they are interested in exploring how songs are used by birds to define and negotiate their territories and develop modes of cohabitation. In addition to examining how birds use sounds to communicate with one another, they are also interested in exploring the possibility of communication between species. In this way, this project is as much about the cohabitation of other beings as it is about our capacity, as humans, to cohabitate with other beings.

The artists will be in residence at Bemis for a month this summer. They have already begun this project by examining the scientific literature on bird songs, including how, when, why, and where birds sing. Next, they want to hear from you. What can you tell us about birdsong? They are particularly interested in the use of sonograms/sonographs that visualize audio waves by showing frequency changes over time. They will record bird songs and create a collection of sonograms, focusing on songs and calls made by birds to mark their territories. A selection of these sonograms will be rendered into three-dimensional sculptural works.

Additionally, they intend to create a practical experiment to explore the possibility of interspecies communication. This will take the form of encounters between one or several birds and human performers/singers. These encounters could be in the field, in someone’s home, in a laboratory or in a nature reserve. This experiment will explore what happens when a form of vocal interaction which normally takes place between members of one species happens between different beings. Have you experienced this kind of interaction? We’d love to know about it. The aim will be to develop embodied, emotional, and effective ways of knowing, as well as entangled practices of listening, signaling, responding, and interpreting.

Interested? Please tell us about yourself, your special relationship with birds, or your questions.


Please share this call for participation widely. For additional information, email

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts
724 South 12th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
Admission and Parking: FREE
Phone:: 402.341.7130