Strange times. Especially today: I happened to be reading about Paul Klee's (1879-1940) famous fantasy birdsong machine when a message popped up on Facebook alerting me to a real twittering machine.
Klee's painting of 1922 was the inspiration for Harrison Birtwistle's Carmen Arcadiae Mechanicae Perpetuum (‘The Perpetual Song of Mechanical Arcady’). Klee was a professional-standard violinist and often used musical terms and ideas to explain his work. Birtwistle has often spoken of Klee's juxtaposing of blocks of colour as a huge influence. Another thing they have in common is an interest in nature. Klee taught at the Bauhaus from 1921 to 1931, witnessing the continual infighting between the giant figures of modernism. By contrast, “in an age of the colossus, Klee falls in love with a green leaf, a star, a butterfly’s wing." The artist Hugo Ball observed. "I know of no man more in touch with his inspiration than Paul Klee.”
The real Twittering Machine below was made by Bontems of Paris, famous manufacturers of bird automata.