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1000 Ducks

1000 virtual duck species covered in a book, video, sculptures, and an ambient audio album.

It’s my version of senbazuru: folding 1000 origami cranes. Cranes are symbols of longevity in Japan and the paper garlands are traditional, created and given to grant a wish or give strength to the ill.

This project is very special to me as they (all the ducks) were made to augment an inside joke between myself and my dearest friend Pat when he was in the hospital, close to what turned out to be near to the end of his fight with leukemia.

Duck watching is a favorite hobby of mine and it became one of Pat’s as well while he tried to recover.

Ducks are great: easy to find everywhere, move slowly, well tempered, you can get close to them, you can feed them, they appear in quantity (in numbers and in species), they make sounds, and can be incredibly colourful. They are gentle and satisfying. They are wonderful and thoughtful.

This collection of 1000 was printed into one book, which I gave to Pat. Essentially they are a punchline to a joke. A kind of bird watching you can do from bed. A good luck charm and a silly task.

100 Duck Calls is an accompanying album for the single book. It features “natural recordings” of 100 ducks in 2 environments: seashore and pond side. Both the sounds of the birds and the surrounding sounds were digitally created. There are no actual birds.

The environments are collages of various locations and the duck sounds were made by either creating the sounds from digital modular synths or by manipulating samples of other things (people, objects, instruments, etc.) in another set of synthesizers.

Here are a few nerdy details about how the ducks were made.

Because these drawings started with a guide to actual, real life local duck species the base shapes came from those. There are about 25ish species of duck in Vancouver.* Most of which can be seen simultaneously at Lost Lagoon where, during breeding season, it’s pretty extravagant.

My basic shapes were your mallard, teals, mergansers, widgeons, ring necks, goldeneyes, bufflehead, and wood duck*. And goose: the largest duck type.

Finally, the naming guidelines I gave myself:

-No repeat words (other than the word “duck” )
-No direct nouns, pop culture terms, or specific places/cultures/nations/etc.
-No references to people, besides one named after Pat
-Try to use real words rather than made up ones. Portmanteau’s are ok. Not a hard rule.

This was intended to actually make the process easier and give some “literary structure”. But naming them took almost as long as drawing them.

1000 Ducks


Video | Sculpture | audio | Drawing



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