Airlie Birds was a place specific-art project carried out entirely in public areas in order to establish direct contact with as many people as possible. The aim was to bring art to the social centre, to the everyday world of those living and moving through the area, impacting at local levels and bringing out new ways of looking at the landscape. A series of interventions placed within the hamlets of Ruthven and Airlie and spanning a 2 mile radius beyond aimed to present art to the general public in offbeat and unexpected ways. Presented and produced anonymously and sitting outside the conventional institutions of the art gallery the project proposed to reach the inhabitants and commuters in ways which would activate their senses and raise critical awareness of their community.
Hand painted wooden birds, including those local to the area, chaffinch, goldfinch, tree sparrow etc were arranged on sign posts, fences and gate posts. Wooden boards bearing text with phrases such as "Love the moment" and "Wake Up" were positioned along the side of back roads and quieter routes used by local people commuting through the landscape. Three large clay nests placed on 12 foot tripods were located in a framed piece of countryside between the entrance to two fields. The object was to raise awareness of place, to catch the scent of memory and to restore play and wonder, curiosity and delight inviting unsuspecting viewers to question their way of looking and thinking. And to create an experience which would build interest and connections.