Mystery Bird

A travelling immersive installation involving projection, sound and augmented reality.

Mystery Bird was born in Manchester, before taking flight around the world using Augmented Reality (AR). The project began in the wake of strict social distancing measures. Many of us experienced a renewed interest in our natural surroundings - discerning birdsong again at a time when the world was quietly held at a temporary standstill. Inspired by this, Quays Culture commissioned a group of four artists to create Mystery Bird, an experimental, travelling installation that involves projection, sound and AR.

To reach audiences beyond the Manchester tour, I created an AR artwork that can be experienced by anyone with a smartphone. The piece consists of intricate paper birds, designed by paper artist Helen Musselwhite, that miraculously fly through the air using the power of AR. The accompanying bird song is created by sound artist and beatboxer Jason Singh, using his own voice.

The artwork was viewed by 8000+ people in Manchester and around the world. We asked the public to submit videos of them experiencing the work in their local area. This user generated film shows some of the thousands of locations the AR birds visited in December 2020 during the worldwide Covid-19 crisis.

Videos submitted from across the UK, plus America, China, Estonia, France, India, and Spain.

This film is a celebration of our Mystery Bird tour that took place at locations in Greater Manchester during December 2020.

A celebration video by Soup Co. of the Mystery Bird tour.

Produced by Quays Culture
Creative Producers: Gemma Saunders and Jude Jagger
Sound Design: Jason Singh
Bird Illustrations: Helen Musselwhite
Projection Artists: Illuminos
Cage Fabrication: M3 Industries
Developer: Jo Portus
Funders: ACE, GMCA, RSPB, Autumn Care, The Lowry