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Pigeon Language - Yu Ching Wang


Video and Performative action

Video: single-channel, color, with sound

Video duration: 15 minutes and 35 seconds

"Someone told me that the pigeons in New York City are from Europe, so I wonder if these pigeons still remember Europe and their languages."

"Pigeonese" was inspired by the identity of pigeons, who are foreigners and immigrants from outside the United States. When I see pigeons, I think of people, such as myself and others with a specific identity, and feel closer to the pigeons. We live in the same city and are in similar situations. In this work, pigeons are a metaphor for those trying to adapt to a new city and environment.

Someone has told me the pigeons in New York City are from Europe. I researched and found that most of the pigeons in New York City are rock doves (Columba livia). Their natural habitats are Southern Europe, Northern Africa, the Middle East, and Western Asia. In the 1600s individuals initially imported them for their meat. So, I wonder if pigeons still remember Europe and their languages. 

In this project, I talk with them in European languages that were supposed to be their native languages 1600s years ago and record the process of our conversation. These questions that I asked pigeons reflect the real-life problems encountered by certain groups, such as language problems, ethnic and cultural differences, changes in eating habits, etc. I once saw a group of pigeons eating fried chicken. The sight shocked me. On the one hand, they were eating other birds, and on the other hand, they seemed completely "Americanized."

The form of the project is a video taken by myself, which forms the film from a first-person perspective. I want to create an illusion for viewers who may feel that they are the person talking with pigeons. It is both a performance and a video work, and my role is both recorder and performer. 



有人告訴我紐約市的鴿子來自歐洲,所以我很好奇鴿子們是否還記得歐洲和他們的語言,因此我做了一些研究,發現紐約市的大多數鴿子都是岩鴿(Columba livia),它們的原生棲息地是南歐、北非、中東和⻄亞,因此,我想知道鴿子是否還記得歐洲和他們的語言。

在計畫中,為了知道鴿子是否還記得他們的語言,我用各種歐洲和⻄亞的語言與牠們交談,這些語言在 1600 年前應該是牠們生活區域的母語,我和鴿子的對話內容是關於鴿子遷徙歷史的問題和紐約市的日常生活,實際上鴿子是外國人與移⺠族群的隱喻,並互相呼應,藉由這些提問來反映特定身份族群所遇到的現實問題,像是語言問題、種族文化差異、飲食習慣的轉變等等。我曾經看見一群鴿子在吃炸雞,那景象讓我十分震驚,一方面是牠們正在吃其他的鳥類,另一方面是牠們好像完全「美國化」了。

訪問的過程以錄像的形式記錄,我一邊說話一邊拿著相機拍攝,從第一人稱視角構成這部 錄像。 我的影像沒有出現在畫面中,只有我說話的聲音,所有的影像皆是鴿子與城市街 景,以此手法創造一種錯覺,讓觀眾感到自己也是和鴿子說話的人,因此這件創作既是行 為表演也是錄像作品,藝術家的角色既是攝影師也是表演者。

Pigeon Language - Yu-Ching Wang
Pigeon Language - Yu-Ching Wang
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