What the Birds Knew


What the Birds Knew (2012)

Materials: Uranium glass, wire, UV lights

Dimensions: 5.2 meter x 3 meter x 3 meter

Ken+Julia Yonetani on What the Birds Knew Exhibition (Das Platforms)

In 1970, a rich deposit of Uranium was discovered at Nabarlek in the Northern Territory, Australia.  It was close to the Aboriginal site known as Gabo Djang (Green Ant Dreaming). The Kuwinjku people, on whose land the uranium was found had objected to the mining.  Their objections were over ruled. The area was mined in the late 1970s, and the uranium exported to Japan, amongst other countries. According to Kunwinjku beliefs, misfortune follows disturbance of the site.

This work arose from the nuclear tragedy in Fukushima. The title of the exhibition refers to the alternative title for Akira Kurosawa’s 1955 post-war film I Live in Fear, in which the central character declares that birds flee before impending environmental threats, in particular nuclear annihilation.


Collection of the Sherman Foundation.