Date: 1988

Location: Berlin 

Type: sculpture, installation, action

Technique: hand-built

Material: steel

Height: 500 cm

The second biggest burd I ever made was the Berlin Burd.   This burd was 5 metres high and had to look over the Berlin Wall which was 4 metres high.  The politicians in Berlin were cagey about letting me do this and mein Gott, it was not easy to get permission.  It seems that when there are student demonstrations they dig up kleine cobble stones and through them at the poliza.  I reminded them that “ein vogel ist kein stein” which means, as everyone in German knows, “a bird is not a stone”.


Berlin and Glasgow school-kinders cooperated by creating 500 burds of their own – all defying ornithological identification.  The burds were lined up behind my big Berlin Burd who told them what it could see on the other side.  A Berliner pataphysician said it was absurd to attempt to explain the confrontation of one absurdity by another.  The wall came down some nine months later, and the news arrived in Gourock by ‘phone from Berlin – “Zat you Georg? – a bird is not a stone”.