The Flocks

  • 29.9

  • -
  • 28.10

  • 2018

Opening Saturday, September 29, 6 PM–midnight
(Malmö Gallery Night 2018)

Where are the flocks trying to lead us and what happens if we follow? Most of them seem to be out of reach, shapeshifting and on the move, but could their movements help us gather in new constellations?

This collaborative exhibition features work that seeks to document different flocks of birds, while looking at their relation to the humans, structures, and collections that have attempted to house them. Here, the notion of the flock holds several meanings, touching upon environmental and political issues, tensions between the group and the individual, and questions surrounding norms and societal expectations.

On a recent journey to Iran, Petter Dahlström Persson photographed the ruins of pigeon towers made to collect and repurpose bird droppings as fertiliser, only to find there were no longer any pigeons inside them. In contrast to these structures built intentionally for pigeons, Laura Hatfield includes a selection of images from a recently inherited archive, portraying a Canadian eccentric known as The Birdman – whose home was demolished for housing “unsanitary” pigeons. Why is it that the love of this bird has, in some times and places, been so threatening to the social order? The Birdman was ostracised by society for living with a large flock of pigeons, while in the past they were highly valued for their ability to navigate and carry messages for personal and political reasons.

While in Iran, Dahlström Persson followed a flock of pigeons to a stone wall. They soon took off into the sky, but he decided to walk the entire perimeter of the wall, taking photographs as he went. He later found out that the same wall had once housed a group of people hiding during a conflict, and that they had been able to avoid capture by imitating the sounds of pigeons. This past summer while in Berlin, Hatfield initiated a group search for a missing collection of ceramic birds belonging to Whose Museum, not necessarily to get them back but to see what could be learned from their new formations and direction. What if we all viewed the search for the flocks as a form of radical navigation? Maybe to flock is not just to group together, but to find new strategies for collective movements.