“How can the act of making be used as a catalyst for discussing the challenges we are facing for sustaining biodiversity and for balancing what we do to environment? How can an experience of living abroad be used for re-discovering and questioning our habit, ritual and culture?”
Biodiversity loss is one of the most urgent issues in the world. The last 50 years have seen increasingly adverse impact on non-human species through habitat loss, food shortage, global heating and pollution. In the UK alone there are 67 birds on the UK red list for Birds – one in four of UK bird species – requiring special measures to increase their population. Yuka Jourdain’s Pray for Reconnection suggests creative design and making can be used as a catalyst for discussion and raising awareness about this problem.
The project’s starting point was the Japanese word ‘Mottainai’. This word, derived from Buddhism, is expressed when an object or a person does not deserve to be treated in such a way. Jourdain says: “Mottainai is a a word which keeps coming back to me whenever I discard rubbish that still has life or beauty”.
Habitual thoughts, words and actions unconsciously form our core values and for Jourdain co-existence with other species requires an empathetic and respectful approach towards nature. As a way in narrating bird species’ current situations and their necessity, Jourdain explored human habits and rituals, in particular the act of votive offering as part of human prayers for power beyond them. By incorporating human habits into the design, Jourdain has created informative objects which also evoke viewers empathetic feeling towards birds.
The installation is composed of figurative birds that are hanging objects or jewellery. As an installation it encourages an imagined wearing which stimulates empathetic feeling towards the bird species. All the birds are designed to present their vulnerable states: hanging bird objects in their falling position with Japanese votives in red, brooches have downward arrows, bird’s rings are linked with habitat and food rings by a chain which also symbolises the urgency of human-natural world reconnection.