Battery Park City turned into a birdwatcher’s paradise

Thanks to AR technology.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
May 11, 2022

Battery Park City is being transformed into a virtual birdwatcher’s paradise thanks to an interactive augmented reality art project. Using original watercolors, this art piece depicts 30 different bird species. Since Earth Day, those walking along the riverfront in Battery Park City, from South Cove to Rockefeller Park, have been able able to use their phones to enter an invisible world of birds.


“Bird’s-Eye View,” a new piece by New York City-based artist Shuli Sadé, features images and original watercolors by Sadé taken with the Adobe Aero software and a smartphone camera of 30 species of birds that seek temporary or permanent sanctuary near Manhattan’s waterways. To watch local birds and learn about their habitats and migratory habits, simply scan one of the 70 QR codes on any of the 14 signs along the water.


The flying patterns of birds above the Hudson River and through Battery Park City’s gardens and parks inspired “Bird’s-Eye View.” Sadé used the Audubon Society’s scientific drawings, noises, and migration maps to bring her installation to life. You’ll hear their birdsongs and watch the birds that frequent the area in flight as soon as you scan the QR code.


More information about the birds may be found on signs along the riverbank, as well as poetry lines that were chosen with care. According to the Battery Park City Authority, these “draw parallels between the repetitive nature of bird sounds and syllables in poems, which also serve as a source of inspiration to many poets.”


According to Abby Ehrlich, BPCA’s Director of Community Partnerships and Public Art, Sadé was able to create a fusion between reality and illusion by allowing people to engage with not only the birds but also the motion of the tides on the lower Hudson River, as well as activities on land, river, and sky, using AR.


“This site-specific installation was conceptualized with Battery Park City’s pioneering practices and genuine commitment to environmental stewardship in mind. Shuli Sadé’s Bird’s-Eye View explores and shares images that she develops with her mastery of the latest technology, hand-painted interpretations of birds, poetry excerpts selected to inspire wonder, and careful study of BPCA’s commitment to environmental sustainability. We are honored and inspired by Shuli’s innovative, temporal installation that bridges the potential of technology to bring viewers close to nature in a new way.”


According to B.J. Jones, President & CEO of the BPCA, Battery Park City, a 92-acre neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, is on its way to becoming a “biodiversity refuge.”


In related art news, here are 5 art shows we’re hitting up this month.


Photo via Shuli Sadé