Starlings at Sunset by Dennis Hlynsky


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ABOUT THIS VIDEO PROJECT: Synthesized from descriptions of the work, writings of others, reviews and critiques

The artist’s most astonishing clips demonstrate the beautiful and labyrinthine flight-paths of birds, unraveling the intricacy of their aerial choreography. Through simple digital processing techniques, American artist and RI School of Design professor Dennis Hlynsky turns an average recording of flying birds into an enthralling surreal experience. The process ensures that in each “real time” frame a plurality of frames are simultaneously displayed. No time-lapse technique is used. The trails articulate ellipses and circles that oscillate constantly between order and chaos. Many of these traces look like hyper-realistic pencil drawings. The birds create beautiful patterns as they roam the open air and display some seemingly intentional creativity.

One of the most effective methods to identify a bird species is to observe the way they fly and its trajectories, especially when you are observing at a distance and the color and other traits are more difficult to recognize. When birds travel in flocks, their behavior takes on emergent properties. Out of the chaos of flight, gorgeous, geometric patterns coalesce. This is what Dennis Hlynsky hopes to record. Birders refer to this as a “jizz” read of the species.

It is good to remember that we humans are the ones who attach our stories to these glyphs. Forming heuristic impressions by summing the parts is something that separates humans from machines. These are recordings are of things that are alive and cluster… flocks, herds and swarms exist in at a critical balance between the catatonic and epileptic. The flock balanced on the wire can suddenly burst with each bird abandoning individuality en masse. The flock goes viral. This is DNA at work; creating behavioral near copies that can be grouped as a species.

But, then there is desire. The desire to not leap with the swarm, the desire to remain at the critical point as an individual who influences the group as a leader or as one who decides to stay behind.


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