Of Birds & Boundaries functions as a social political critique of the current expression of borders and boundaries in the context of geopolitics. It provides an opportunity where nature can be used as a novel strategy to interpret and redefine the meaning and purpose of division and separation. As expressed through or manifested through migratory birds and their natural habitats, nature of pre-existing conditions is used as a strategy to disrupt man-made urban geopolitical boundaries to redefine the identity of in-between spaces.
The project situates itself parasitically in the middle of Singapore, nested between superpower embassies & flanked by the ministry of foreign affairs who greatly control the geopolitical scene of the 20th century, and as an up and coming geopolitical voice and trending international host, Singapore supports this new intervention which is designed to be a diplomatic sanctuary for migratory birds transiting the state while also housing intimate spaces for diplomatic dialogue and purpose between the embassies.
Breaking down of geopolitical boundaries are explored and redefined in the physical realm, but also programmatically where state embassies co-govern this diplomatic sanctuary through collaborating on biotechnological and ornithological research – caring for both the birds and their natural habitats. The success and cooperation of states results in a flourishing and well inhabited bird sanctuary in their backyards which naturally form soft boundaries of distinction between the buildings, resulting in a synanthropic common ground for humans, birds and states to coexist.
Cheryl Lee examines how politics and diplomacy can be radically re-shaped by introducing a new spatial typology located at the site surrounded by the embassies of four major world powers- the United States, China, United Kingdom, and Australia. With Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs building closing the loose spatial boundary, Cheryl’s project intentionally set up an entangled spatial, political and environmental relationship between birds, flora and humans. She weaves sunken public access across the site that contains multiple programmes ranging from a bird sanctuary, seed bank and new meeting spaces set amidst lush landscapes.- Assoc. Prof. Thomas Kong