design background image
design background image
design background image

Jiji Zhazha (叽叽喳喳)

What kind of bird do you have?
project date: 

Exhibition, Beijing, 2004

jiji zhazha
The following is the Jiji Zhazha description from the First Beijing International New Media Arts Exhibition and Symposium, "Leading the Edge" in 2004.

Jiji Zhazha is
About conversation
About interactivity in proximity of intercepted signals
About calling and recalling experience
Across borders in different languages
Now and then.

What kind of bird do you have?
Behind this building, this road and these dark glasses
A bird speaks
Whispers and gossips
Sit next to me and listen. You will hear something that you are looking for.

a birdcage and a stool, the two interactive components of the pieceJiji Zhazha is an interactive piece that creates a physical/virtual environment where visitors can trigger conversations between one another and with "birds in a cage". The interaction between humans and "birds in a cage" represents one important aspect of Chinese social and cultural mythology.

Ten chairs/stools and ten birdcages [are] installed in the middle of a room. Visitors can move the chairs from one place to another and sit on them. By doing so, they will activate the sound of birds singing and mimicking human speech. A broken pattern of words and song amidst various local environmental sounds will emanate from the birdcages in response to the moving of each individual chair. These inter-activated sound bites of words and song floating through the air will in turn activate both the real and imagined conversations from which personal narratives are constructed.

participants leaning over to listen to their bird cagesa young girl listening to the piecea group of women listening to the piece togetherJiji Zhazha is both expienced and collaboratively created by the audience.Xiawen Chen talking about Jiji Zhazha at the symposium.

Technical Description

general planning diagram for Jiji ZhazhaSitting on the stool activates a low-power radio broadcast of various pre-recorded audio clips. The cages have small radio receivers and speakers concealed within.

A "bird-man" in Beijing, interviewed by Xiaowen Chen.Because all the radio broadcasts are on the same frequency, the sounds that participants hear is altered based on which stools are being sat on and how close they are to each other and to the specific cage being listened to.

The individual audio clips are compositions of New York State birds' songs, Chinese birds' songs, and interviews with some of the "bird-men" of Beijing.

Artists Involved

the Jiji Zhazha collaborative team of artists
  • Kevin Ashton
  • Xiaowen Chen
  • Feijun
  • Bang-Geul Han
  • Hisao Ihara
  • Jessie Shefrin