Pigeon-Human Negotiations through Practice


  • Dawn M Gaietto University College London


pigeon, art, re-presentation, non-human agency, non-human utility


This is an exploration of the (un)common worlds of the pigeon and the human in London, through the lens of anthrodecentric art and the installation of a pigeon loft. To engage with this encounter is look, see, and be with another. Human-pigeon ties of relation are long-standing, as from 10,000 years ago the pigeon has lived cooperatively with the human species. More recently, the pigeon was the starting point of contemporary mail systems and messenger pigeons were active serving members of the armed forces in World War II, ablpie to carry out missions when humans were unfit and incapable. Given developments in mechanical and digital technologies, the pigeon has been deprived of its use-value as technology. The project Pigeon-Human Negotiations presents a diagrammatic model that affords the pigeon a use-value in contemporary London – their scavenging behaviours are recognised for their utility as a bio-recycling system. Here I present this arts practice-led research project under three lenses of analysis: the space of function, the space of re-presentation, and the sphere of translation. Herein lies the intersection of pigeon/art/human, within the bio-recycling capacities of the pigeon, the functions of art as re-purposer and subsequently assigner of value, the human can consume this art work predicated on the active presence of the non-human, and their agency through the artwork, which allows the rubbish produced by the human to be bio-recycled into the realm of value.

Articles (peer-reviewed)



How to Cite

Gaietto, D. M. (2019). Pigeon-Human Negotiations through Practice. TRACE ∴ Journal for Human-Animal Studies, 5, 56–80. https://doi.org/10.23984/fjhas.80172