SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art
12/04 – 16/04, 2022
Group exhibition project realized by Pénélope Bégin, France Cantin, Arianne Comeau, Sophie Dubeau Chicoine, Manon Duchesne, Sandrine Fratello, Anaïs Kechidi, Julie Lachapelle, Judith Léonard-Racicot, Julie Livan, Rachel Moyart-Soucy, Laura Pelletier-Robert, Béatrice Poitras, Andréa Provençal, Fannie Robitaille, Nika Zabihi-Sissan (students in art history at UQAM), under the direction of Christina Contandriopoulos and Valeria Tellez Niemeyer
Falcons and pigeons have been nesting in Montreal for a long time. Falcons live high up on the roofs of skyscrapers, out of sight. Pigeons, on the other hand, are invisible because of their numbers and the banality of their presence, which is often considered harmful. Both species have close ties with humans. However, the way we look at each of them today is not the same, whether it is through a scientific, artistic or civic lens.
Through live broadcasting of images from the falcon nesting box at the Université de Montréal and pigeon walks by anthropologist-curator Chloé Roubert, the exhibition questions the different view of animal life, but also of social relations in an urban environment.
The two projects, although very different in their methods, are based on a detailed and meticulous observation of these avian species. The exhibition proposes a dialogue, otherwise unlikely, between the artistic, anthropological, citizen, scientific and environmental dimensions contained in these worlds.
A small community of birdwatchers gathers every day around the live broadcast of images from the falcon nesting box installed on the 23rd floor of the Roger-Gaudry Pavilion of the Université de Montréal. Many comment on the live discussion forum. Eve Bélisle, a research associate at École Polytechnique, noticed the birds and had a nesting box installed in 2008. The falcons are closely observed and banded to track their movements. The group assigns them names and their genealogy is recorded. Crucial events in their lives are documented and shared on social networks to the delight of bird enthusiasts.
The projection of the nesting box immerses the gallery in an urban atmosphere. The height, the feeling of vastness, the reverse view of the city below and the wind blowing is omnipresent. Then there is the time, the slowness, the waiting, because the falcons are not at the disposal of the visitor’s gaze. This is perhaps what causes feeling of surprise every time one of them enters. The falcon is also a carnivore and a skilled hunter, especially of pigeons. The scenes of predation remind us of its animality, this wild side incongruous in the big city.