humble pigeons
2014

Humble Pigeons is an ongoing project that explores, documents and challenges the relationship between humans and pigeons.

Feral pigeons living in cities are descendants of pigeons that we previously bred and domesticated as an essential food source ("feral" means to be in a wild state after domestication). Their ‘natural’ environment is the city and now, ironically they survive on our excess food. The concept of a pigeon as a pest is a recent one and as a result they have been subject to various schemes designed to reduce, eradicate and displace their populations.

Studies have shown that these measures are ineffectual and at times have the opposite effect of concentrating their populations in specific areas. These actions are similar to those against the homeless.

‘more like us, more like them’ is a component of my exploration - an illustrated guide, designed for people who feel intimidated by the foraging tactics and fearlessness of the birds.

Chapter one ‘personify the pigeon’ encourages readers to notice subtle quirks that individual pigeons exhibit. This trains readers to recognize human characteristics, which often go unnoticed in the birds, making them easier to relate to.

Chapter two ‘obscure the human’ helps people feel more comfortable around the birds. It teaches gesturing and encourages readers to adopt the body language of the birds, thereby engaging in non-verbal communication.

I hope to combat the anthropocentric notion that animals must either serve a human purpose or remain absent from our urban environments, but rather to understand the pigeon on it’s own terms. After all we invaded their environment long before they adapted to ours.

here to download high resolution version of the guide.

Thanks: Anne Galloway | CRUW

 
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