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When We Could Fly

  Sarah Conti  

November 2021

Im(migration)

 

Through the inevitable effects of climate change we will soon be facing a new world. As the more vulnerable beings on this planet suffer what will those of us with access and resources do? In this installation I am referencing the Audubon Society’s projections on which native birds will be able to adjust their habitat range to survive on a warming planet, versus those who will be devastated by these human-caused changes. Similarly, we will see more and more people who are disenfranchised become refugees as their homes become uninhabitable, while the wealthy elite can pay to avoid the costs of climate change. Birds, like humans, live in every climate of the world. However they are far more sensitive to the changes of a warming planet and are harbingers for the future we face. The mass, and often mysterious, die off of bird populations around the world are a cry for help and change.


 

The Dinner Party

 

This series is inspired by the feminist installation of the same name by Judy Chicago. I am tying this to birds that I view as metaphorically feminist due to their monomorphic form; where the females are as colorful and as large the males. I am also referencing James Audubon’s contributions to ornithology. It is frustrating how he is hailed as the father of American ornithology despite not being the discoverer of these birds, simply the first European man to study and document these species. He prepared to paint birds by capturing, killing, eating, and then taxidermying them in his desired pose to depict. Imagining these beautiful (and now thankfully protected) birds on a plate is a disturbing and poignant reminder of the way we treat them and the natural world.