Film in pre-production, 2022-
Research images taken in 2015 during a residency at La Postiza, Murcia.
La Curiosidad is a short film currently in pre-production phase. It will be made with my partner and long-time collaborator, Alex Wight, under our collaborative moniker, ZOOX. La Curiosidad will be the first work made as part of a multi-year research project into an area we call ‘ethno-ornithology in the age of extinction’.
During a residency in rural Spain in 2015, we encountered the some hand-painted sporting pigeons. Initially assuming they were exotic birds like parrots, we were surprised to discover that the colourful flocks of birds we had seen flying overhead were in fact pigeons, painted in bright colours, and training for the sport colombicultura. In this game human men (always only men) coax the colourful pigeons to mate with a singular, female, unpainted pigeon. The closer the male pigeon gets to the female, the more points scored. We made a series of photographs of the game which remained in our personal archive. Over recent months we have been revisiting these pigeons, asking what they reveal about relationships between (hu)man and bird? What does the pigeon as a ubiquitous and human-domesticated bird symbolise in an age of extinction? And what is it about these pigeons that keeps drawing us back?
La Curiosidad will be a short narrative film made in the genre of magic realism. The story will follow an elderly man, a pigeon keeper who was recently widowed. He believes that the soul of his late wife is encapsulated in a female pigeon, and that if his colourful, male pigeon succeeds in the mating game of colombicultura she will be brought back to life. It will be ambiguously hinted at that this is, in fact, true. The film will include a dream-like sequence containing a puppet model of one of the painted pigeons. We hope the film will allow viewers to reflect on notions of loss and grief in an environmentalist sense by telling it through a relatable perspective of the loss of love.
Sketches of puppet pigeons that are currently in production. I will be working with Kooman’s Puppet Theatre in the Netherlands to learn to make puppets throughout 2022.