superstition in the pigeon, 2013
single channel video, 16’27’’
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Jerusalem documented from a bird’s eye view: using a dove to which a tiny camera has been attached, the combination of an ancient communication medium with modern technology questions the unity and eternity of the city to which the dove returns from the diaspora after 2,000 years.
A natural mechanism that has yet to be fully explained guides pigeons back home, to a single home – their birthplace. In Superstition in the Pigeon, the bird starts its poetic flight at the edge of Jerusalem and proceeds on her way home carrying a tiny camera on its back. This work ties together the time-honored tradition of raising postal pigeons with state-of-the-art photographic technology.
The title is borrowed from a 1947 study by psychologist B.F. Skinner, who researched pigeons for the purpose of developing behaviorist theories. Skinner found that under certain conditions, pigeons may be persuaded to "believe" in the effectiveness of futile actions and start developing superstitious behavioral traits.
These behaviors are probably motivated by the pigeons' need to survive, and reading them in the context of the human species charges the work with sociopolitical aspects, in the complex background of Jerusalem.
The pigeon's gentle flight will eventually take it home, no matter how far. It crosses the sky over Jerusalem in a symbolic flyover. Superstition in the pigeon projects deceptive calm, with the repetitiveness and consistence of the creature's movements creating a kind of meditative move by the observer, at the same time building up the tension and doubt as to the nestling's ability to find its way home.
(filmed using a micro camera mount to the pigeon body)