Pest Or Pal? Artists Explore Austin's Long, Strange Relationship With Grackles

Apr 18, 2018

Austin is a place that not only prides itself on bars and festivals, but also on its wildlife. While bats and salamanders have long enjoyed a certain ecological cache, lately the great tailed grackle has become a controversial contender for unofficial city mascot. Still, it flies in a strange borderland between love and hate.

That sentimental space, and the bird itself, is the focus of a performance and audiovisual art project called "Grackle Call" that runs for three days starting Thursday as part of the Fusebox Festival.

Credit Courtesy of Steve Parker

The project is led by Austin-based artist Steve Parker, who has created an experience meant to mimic a bird-watching tour. The plan is to equip participants with binoculars, mp3 players and a map directing them to performances and installations, according to the website.

The team contributing to the project includes KUT’s Mose Buchele, who produced stories for the show about unwanted dinner guests, ancient Aztecs and a grackle researcher who sometimes feels like the birds are studying him.

Learn more about the FuseBox Festival here.