Swiss-born, Berlin-based artist, Julian Charrière has collaborated with Julius von Bismarck on Some Pigeons are More Equal than Others.
The project is about dying 35 pigeon in the city of Copenhagen A “pigeon apparatus” was build with this purpose. The machine works as a bird trap with a conveyor belt mechanism, and once inside the machine, the pigeons get automatically airbrushed in different colors. The machine was installed for a week on a roof in Copenhagen.
It’s true: in the past, I’ve gotten my feathers ruffled about dyed dogs (see here and here), but before you cry fowl, lets take a closer look.
What pretty pigeons! Don’t they look like peacocks? But seriously…
To understand this project in context, I looked back at a 2010 artwork by Charrière entitled The White Dove. In this case, the artist ‘liberated’ white doves from their cages by painting them with grey food dye and releasing them to fend and blend with the rest of Berlin’s common pigeons.
While undoubtedly, PETA activists would have further insight on whether it’s really a good deed to release domesticated doves into the wild, Charrière’s idea comes from a good place. The White Dove project speaks to the idea that we shouldn’t “cage” nature because we find it attractive. In that regard, the new work, Some Pigeons are More Equal than Others, can be seen as the fulfillment of this concept.
Perhaps when they dye pigeons, Charrière and von Bismarck are trying to make us look closer at our surroundings, in particular, the things we take for granted, like pigeons.
Here’s that “pigeon dying apparatus”. To see a reversal where regular old pigeons dye their surroundings, take a look back at Craig Alun Smith’s Street Art Created by Birds.