By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV


CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – 700 Mylar birds are suspended over Cambridge Street right now. They’ll be there until July – even if some people find them distracting.

The installation art is called “Flocks”, and is the work of a huge team of people, led by artist Carolina Aragon.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports

“I really wanted to get something up in the sky,” explained the artist and Architecture professor. “I like to make things that have a life of their own.”

In five different locations stretching a mile from Lechmere to Inman Square, “Flocks” is meant “emphasize the historic and contemporary socio-economic diversity of Cambridge by celebrating and studying the theme of migration,” according to the artist’s website.

The project was sanctioned by the Cambridge Arts Council more than a year ago, and since then the design team has worked closely with the city to achieve two goals: to make the art attractive and to make sure it’s not a hazard.

“Obviously…I would not want anyone to get hurt,” said Aragon.

And so far, no one has. But some people have complained that the metallic birds might distract drivers, or create too much of a glare and cause an accident.

Most people stopped on the street and asked to comment about the “Flocks” didn’t see what all the fuss was about.

For her part, Aragon feels confident she and her team have gone out of their way to ensure public safety. She understands why people might be a bit apprehensive about the birds, but says she’s happy to have people talking about them and about what they represent.

Comments (18)
  1. ERICH & CARMEN says:

    I love it, I think is beautiful. Distraction? How about Christmas lights? Cell phones? So Times square or Las Vegas is it a distraction too? I hope people find important things to complain like the gas price.

  2. Wayne says:

    nobody seems to complain about Christmas lights distracting drivers. If this display of birds detracts from your ability to drive, then you probably should not be driving.

  3. Phil Beach says:

    as a former farmer I would have loved this art work over my strawberry fields… to protect the berries we would hang aluminum pie plates around the fields, as they blew in the wind and made noise they would scare off birds wanting to partake in the digestion of fresh berries on the vine… maybe the artist might find a pick your own farm to share this beautiful work as well as be a service… sort of wish I had thought of this back when …

  4. Victoria says:

    Me and the kids love them! They’re neat and fun!

  5. Janet says:

    But did the city and the artist consult with area residents who will have to live with the reflections in their apartments for months?

  6. dan says:

    IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT YOU TRY TO DO GOOD. SOME PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS GOING TO SLAM YOU.

  7. dan says:

    CAMBRIDGE LEADS THE THE STATE IN WWWWHHHIIINNNERRRSS

  8. Donna says:

    I had no idea they were even being installed… The first time I saw them as I drove down Cambridge Street I was like “What the heck is this?” as I took my eyes off the road … Distracting yes. And Christmas lights you know are going to be there – I don’t take my eyes off the road to look at them. The other thing I am wondering is how much the City of Cambridge paid the “artist” to install these… Probably as much as they paid the “artist” who painted the ridiculous fish on the Gold Star Pool (btw, City, next time give a group of neighborhood children some paint brushes and you’ll get the same type of work – for free). Pretty? Yes. A necessary expense of City money? No.

  9. Dirt Dog says:

    I just saw them yesterday. I was wondering what they were all about. But I thought they were kind of cool. Didn’t distract me one bit. Of course I was only driving 2 miles per hour stuck in traffic so I don’t think I would have ran anyone over looking up at them.

  10. Josh says:

    People must realize that Art has its own way of impact some may say distracting and others Attracting. As I see it for this project, most of them say distracting because the installation is attractive ! Here is what I think…

    Reflections hitting my eye for split milli-second ! OMG! I cannot live / drive with this! Really?

    Cambridge street by it self is directed East ~ West and all buildings located on street face North ~ South. So just by sun path, the buildings facing South are the ones usually getting the sun glare during evening times. So, I would say these birds help directing light in for some places! But don’t we all use curtains / Blinds? As for the reflections from the birds: Unless all birds team up and start focusing light into my window, I have no complain. …I mean seriously, I would love to live in a building which faces this art work just to see the natural sky colors backdrop with sparkling birds.

    Driving? one notices this installation way ahead, just as we enter the street, which makes me wonder…hmm… for whole time on the road while driving , “What is this thing?” and I am distracted to cause accidents? May be for the first time i see it, but not every time I encounter them! I don’t know! I drove for 15 years of my life for now and I do not get distracted for crowds, cell phones, advertizing boards, stadium lights, opposite vehicles glares (I manage) and compared to all that I really think Flocks will not be distracting… for that matter anything is not distracting until one pays attention to it…

    And I don’t think the “artist” was paid millions to do this project. I am sure the “Artist” had to manage the Mylar sheets, ropes, hardware and team in the budget. Not to mention the collaboration with city electricity and police. I really have no clue how much would each of this take and I will not question the Artist’s “Designing Skills”. Caz I know how me or my neighborhood children would work, FOR FREE….

    Really its a fine piece of Art guys. Enjoy the spacial beauty it is creating!

  11. West end girl says:

    Love it. Why does Jim Armstrong always try to make some big deal out of nothing? On the newscast he was lamenting this and couldn’t get one person to say it was bothering them. Go back to Fox25.

  12. marisa e carlos says:

    I love Anna Carolinna and friends, beaurriful, seu s avos do Brasil. congratulacions

  13. Mary says:

    Come On most drivers will have to hang up their phone to even notice. They don’t notice the car right in front of them

  14. Mel says:

    It’s so beautiful, I could marry this gal.

  15. Sam says:

    How about we focus getting those ugly LCD billboards turned off instead of an art installation. Refections in your apartment and in your eyes. Come on people! They’re lovely!

  16. Chris Matthews says:

    I like the birds and my children love them. I am so pleased to live in a city that supports the arts in this way, available and open to everyone to enjoy. I wish they would do something like this every year on Cambridge Street to emphasize it as the most vibrant and happening street in Cambridge.

  17. Desmond McGuiness says:

    I think they are great – they look like seagulls flying over Longneck Blvd, they bring back memories of my homeland. The best part is…when I pass under them I don’t have to clean my windshield! Birds of a feather flock together but one of our birds flew to Boston and is no longer with us.