Photo cred - Julius von Bismarck
Say what you will about seagulls, ostriches, or even hawks and eagles, the scariest bird around is the pigeon. Not exactly physically intimidating, pigeon's have earned my top spot for most frightful fowl for a couple of reasons:
One, the unnerving blank stare pigeons bare that is so simple and dumbfounded it pierces to the very core of your soul.
And two, the amount of diseases a pigeon likely carries, which makes physical contact with one a death sentence. Okay, you probably won't die from touching a pigeon, being a little dramatic here, though I'd still get shutters if one of their wings grazed my arm.
Many of you probably feel the same, it's not like pigeons are useful or all that pretty to look at anyway. But would sentiments change if the aesthetic qualities of pigeons were changed, with pigeons made to be more vibrant, attractive, and pleasing to the eye? Two artists in Venice tried it out and made pigeons a little prettier, something that may make Montreal's dirty birds a little more appealing.
Julian Charriere and Julius von Bismarck, two artists from Berlin, were in Venice, Italy, during the city's 2012 biennial. Pigeons are a huge problem to the citizens and tourists of Venice, specifically at Piazza San Marco, so the two artists caught a bunch of the birds, painted them bright colours, and re-released them onto the piazza.
The goal was the make the pigeons more attractive and welcoming, thus promoting people to stay within the piazza and not get freaked out by the birds. Made to look like exotic birds from faraway fantasy lands, the coloured pigeons are a welcome change to the normal pigeon physicality of dull grey, though no makeover can fix that creepy pigeon glare.
Corralling pigeons in Montreal to create a similar public art spectacle wouldn't be too hard, and it would really inject some vibrancy to the typical pigeon haunts, especially old churches. If a Montreal artist took the iniative, we'd suggest colouring pigeons in Expo or Habs colours, to really Montreal-ize the art project.
Take a look at the coloured pigeons of Venice below, courtesy of Julius von Bismarck
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