The next time you are in North Beach, check out the art piece displayed at Columbus and Broadway. It is entitled “Language of the Birds,” and is made up of 23 illuminated polycarbonate books hanging from electrical lines. On the sidewalk below the books rest many English, Italian, and Chinese words and phrases etched into the sidewalk. Standing underneath it, you get the feeling that the books have taken flight, and in the process lost some of their words and phrases which floated to the ground. At night the books are illuminated by power generated from solar panels housed on the roof of nearby City Lights Bookstore.
It was created by Brian Goggin and Dorka Keehn. Brian Goggins is also the artist who designed “Defenestration” at 6th and Howard.
“Language of the Birds” is the direct result of a city ordinance which puts aside 2 percent of capital improvement costs to fund Public Art Programs. Most of the money for this art piece came from private donations, but the city did kick in a generous amount to start the creative process. You have to love a city that recognizes the importance of art.