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pigeon, domesticate (2017)

Photographs that have been printed, collaboratively produced with a subject, and re-digitized.


"I first became interested in pigeons because of their evolutionary companion species-type relationship with humans. Pigeons possess an ability to see ultra violet light and to navigate intrinsically using magneto reception, a map felt bodily and in pull with the Earth’s magnetic field.


"These attributes were selectively and continually bred by humans who worked with pigeons as messenger birds, as spies, as racers. Pigeon racing in the United Kingdom has been well documented, typically as a very white working class sport.

"Omar the breeder I worked with in producing these images was born in Kenya and is a practicing Muslim, who encouraged me to practice fasting, just as a way to cleanse. He very much developed his own methods and aesthetic approach to the sport. His practice is a process of social material aspirations. The pigeons that Omar breeds are ‘fancy pigeons,’ they are for show. They are bred to look beautiful, to take on desired physical traits over continual, careful selection and intentional breeding, they have been bred according to his navigation of choice attributes and surprises.

"Ordinarily pigeons are monogamous for life, but in breeding conditions they will mate with who has been placed in their box, he recognizes their behavior, their dancing – or aversion. To mate they will firstly regurgitate food into each-others mouths, the male will then mount the female

even just for a second’s time, just enough for their openings to touch. After fertilization, eventually the cloaca of the female begins to swell with the pressure of a protruding egg.

"Once out, the female pigeon sits on the eggs for half the time and then, like clockwork, the males switch places with them at the setting of the sun. Omar takes the eggs away from them, the mothers' ‘foot-feathers’ are bred to grow long, so long that they would crush the shell, even if unintentionally.

He breeds them to have small mouths, and so small they’ve become, that he must assist in feeding them. Their mothers' mouths are much too large to do so. These squabs are fragile to life and many do not survive to full maturation without the care provided by the breeder."

CHarlotte hoskins

Hoskins is a graduate of the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, where she completed her master’s degree. Currently, a doctoral student in Anthropology at the University of Oxford, Hoskins' work focuses on the body in contemporary Amazonia—and particularly its ontogenetic possibilities. She is interested in further collaboratively developing work at the intersection of theoretical and audiovisual practice / theoretically audiovisual work.

Instagram: @charulat

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