cover art for Andy & Peter Holden: A Filial History of Nest Building

Trees A Crowd

Andy & Peter Holden: A Filial History of Nest Building

Season 5, Ep. 5

At the launch of his latest video installation at the Tate St Ives, artist Andy Holden meets with David Oakes to discuss the creativity present within the bird world. But, whilst exploring avian aesthetics, Andy's artwork - "A Natural History of Nest Building" - also explores the roles of nature versus nurture at an additional level. This exhibition, one exploring how and why Birds learn to create nest structures, is created by a father and son team; the son an artist, and the father a famous ornithologist. Which begs question: was this film, one about creating homes, nurturing eggs, and fledging one’s young, really just about birds? In this ornithological deep dive, Andy and Peter Holden discuss approaching a shared passion from opposite directions. You'll hear about the super-stimulus associated with the gaping beak of the infanticide-committing cuckoo, the individual spin that different birds of the same species place upon their own personal nests, and the complicated legacy of the mysterious egg-stealing Jordain Society.

Andy Holden is a multi-faceted artist who has exhibited at the Tate Britain, has had music aired on BBC 6 Music, and has created everything from human-sized bower-bird bowers, to enormous knitted rocks based upon a piece of pyramid which he stole as a boy. His father, Peter Holden MBE, worked for the RSPB for almost 40 years to boost their youth engagement. He was most notably instrumental in developing their “Big Garden Birdwatch” - the UK’s first 'citizen science' project, which has been running now for 45 years, and counted around 190 million birds.

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