Morningside Lights





Morningside Lights: Flight



Carrying suitcases in flight, the flock of animated and illuminated birds evokes the power and the precariousness of migration on a changing planet. Over forty migratory bird species that once thrived among New York City’s parks and rooftops now face habitat loss and dislocation from climate change. Like canaries in a coalmine, they remind us that the same global factors increasingly drive human migrations today. Flight honors the resilience and hope of populations on the move—avian and human—and celebrates the vitality and diversity that migrations have always brought to New York.

Symbolizing the shared challenges that link bird and human populations in flux, participants will ornament each bird with authentic plumage, while filling each suitcase with personal reflections on migration. As the illuminated birds take flight, they carry with them a portrait of a homeland: cherished objects kept or left behind, snapshots of beloved places, and the tapestry of patterns, languages, and traditions by which every migrating population enriches its new home.




Learn more about the Year of the Bird celebration from the Audubon Society and National Geographic.

The Audubon Mural Project is commissioning artists to paint murals in Harlem of the 314 North American bird species endangered by a warming climate.

BIRDLINK NYC will create sculptures that function as a rest stop for birds migrating through New York City to summer and winter destinations. Each sculpture is made of rubble, soil, and native plants specific to local and migratory birds.

Birdsnap is a free app developed by researchers at Columbia University, led by Professor Peter Belhumeur, that uses visual recognition technology to identify birds in images you upload.


Image credits: Processional Arts Workshop

Morningside Lights concept and direction by Processional Arts Workshop. Co-produced by the Arts Initiative and Miller Theatre at Columbia University.