A Box of Birds

17 May - 9 June 2024
Opening Reception: 17th May 6-8pm

The Opening Gallery is pleased to announce A BOX OF BIRDS, a rare exhibition of artifacts and documentation associated with the Avis Tertia or “Order of the Third Bird.” Curated by Federica Soletta, and running in conjunction with the release of a new, ten- year retrospective special publication by the research collective ESTAR(SER), this show brings together two installation pieces not before publicly accessible in New York City: the “Frye Trunk” (a portmanteau collation of historical attention-prosthetics and ephemera recently shown in Seattle and Boston); and the “Milcom Memory Box” (previously only available by private appointment at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, in upper Manhattan). Other important holdings from the “W-Cache” repository of ESTAR(SER) will also be on display, and a series of visits and presentations by associated researchers will provide opportunities for interested persons to learn more about the history and practice of radical attention.

ABOUT ESTAR(SER): The “Esthetical Society for Transcendental and Applied Realization (now incorporating the Society of Esthetic Realizers)” is an established collective whose diverse practice (performance, installation, text, image, sound, archive, dream) centers on ATTENTION — the shifting experience of sensory and cognitive choreography; the technologies and counter-technologies of conscious focus. Operating as an ambiguously historical “Learned Society” of “Scholars,” the artists of ESTAR(SER) have built a distinctive body of work over the last decade, with exhibitions and interventions at a host of significant international venues, including: Manifesta 11 (Zurich), the Palais de Tokyo (Paris), MoMA PS1 (NYC), the 33rd São Paulo Biennial (2018), the Milan Triennial, the Guggenheim (NYC), and the Institut für Raumexperimente (Berlin). Drawing on conceptual traditions that run through Fluxus, Oulipo, and the ’Pataphysicians, and aligned with contemporary metafictional practices like Walid Raad’s “Atlas Group” and Jim Shaw’s “Oism” (which they cross with the psychophysical experimentalism of artists like Lygia Clark and Matt Mullican), ESTAR(SER) creates conditions for participatory encounters with the strange power of activated perception. 

ABOUT “The Order of the Third Bird”: There remains some confusion about the history and practices of the body known as The Order of the Third Bird, but evidence points to its having been for some time a loose network of cell-like groups that engage in ritualized forms of sustained attention, often to works of art (in a conventional sense). The canons of secrecy around these activities — their structure and purposes — have traditionally been understood to be sufficiently restrictive as to leave some doubt whether any individual professing inwardness with the Order could in fact be genuinely associated therewith.


Duarte-Riascos, Jerónimo. “In Search of the Third Bird.” Brooklyn Rail (November 2022). 

Gratza, Agnieszka. “Letter from Seattle (on ‘Talking Birds’).” Art Monthly 470 (October 2023).

 Massot, Josephina. “Fact, Fiction, Avis Tertia.” Los Angeles Review of Books (17 July 2022).

Schmidt, Peter. “A Room in Four Phases.” Cleveland Review of Books (3 January 2023).

 Spriggs, Hermione. “Drawing into Being.” Journal of Material Culture 24, issue 6 (2019): 1-20. 

The Glasgow International. “On ESTAR(SER).” Encounters (podcast series, episode 9, 2021).

Events During Exhibition