Pigeons and Architecture consists entirely of detailed shots of urban architectural structures in which pigeons move, eat, dwell, and live in various ways, accompanied by a soundtrack of subsequently amplified 'atmo' sounds of their surroundings and subtly interspersed sounds that are remotely reminiscent of industrial techno rhythms. All in all, a somewhat remote, slightly eerie mood unfolds. In addition, a woman's voice reports laconically cool in voice-over from the office in short fragments about the history of her relationship with pigeons, her observations, and the resulting sympathy for them. Together, the sophisticated minimalism of the very precisely applied means unfolds a dry, almost resistant aesthetic that simultaneously has a pulling effect.
Without any opening credits, we fall into the picture, a slow camera pan over parts of a gray paved floor on an anonymous public square, the atmo sound fades in, a dove comes into the picture and pecks the floor for something edible. Focused, small groups of pigeons drink from the grooves between the cobblestones. They sit individually, in pairs, in groups, in underpasses under the concrete ceiling, behind bars, wires, needles, all of which have been specially attached to and on pillars, crossbars, heels, etc., to make it impossible for the pigeons to stay there. Somehow they have nested in exactly these places, flying from one grid structure to the next, from one gray concrete corner to the other, jumping up stairs, nodding and pecking almost happily at the dirty paved floor, or just looking around from somewhere above, observing gracefully, calmly, and awake. The camera, sometimes from the hand, sometimes from the tripod, but always in the medium to wide telephoto range, follows them or pans over their immediate surroundings.
Like the narrator, through the camera and her observations, we slowly develop an appreciative sympathy for the tenacity and resistance of these 'unwanted' animals' claim to life. And with an almost gloatingly smiling feeling, we suddenly perhaps rejoice at the way they have covered all the cold-repellent, barred, mute abstraction of these places with layers of their feces in such a way that Jackson Pollock's Drip Paintings involuntarily come to mind. (Stefan Panhans)
If I were an architect, I wouldn't build anything new but would do building conversions. The starting point of my work is the engagement with spaces in which people live and which they share–also with non-human beings. My view focuses on urban structures and public spaces using photography and film as a magnifying glass. For me long-term observations are unfinished processes that shape my artistic practice. In combination of subjective narratives with critical discourses, settings, stage designs, investigations, and texts emerge, that mirror what is already there. In doing so, I repeatedly deal with the idea of cities as ecosystems, with human-animal relations and feminist perspectives on architecture and urban spaces. (Anne Linke)
* We can only show an excerpt of this work in the online archive. For the complete version, please contact the artist.
Images: Anne Linke, Pigeons and Architecture, 2019 © Anne Linke