So I will commence my discussion on A Bird Tapestry by David S. Rubin by sharing first that I work for a gallery which represents Hunt Slonem. I have been to the studio discussed in the article and can say its insane. I will keep my personal opinions on Mr. Slonem's work to a minimum because this is the internet, however the birds have so much to do with his everyday practices and decision making. Apart form the fact that the cage described in A Bird Tapestry does exist, it in no way limits the birds from flying around in freedom within the Houston Street loft. The birds are everywhere , on the chairs, on the floor, on the ceiling, on Mr. Slonem's shoulder. At times, Spending time with Hunt outside of his studio, it is interesting hist parent like behavior towards his birds' well being. He will constantly call his assistant to check in on the birds and its borderline OCD. I wanted to share this because there is something to say about his relationship to his birds and it being almost "natural" parent child like interaction. The birds are an extension of his life of his being. The birds act as receivers of his affection and care. It brings to mind the idea aned concept of instinc in respect to the Human Nature relationship.
In A Birds Tapestry we are given a broad look at how birds are incorporated by many, many artist in so many different ways to communicate visually. The essay dives into so many possible approaches to the use of birds, it at some points gets a little long winded. However I found it interesting that the further I read, I started to realize how much birds can be incorporated into many aspects of human communication , but how visual communication is derived from connectors within nature. Also how effective this approach to visual communication could be.
One of the universal threads which was pointed out in the usage of birds was their association with freedom and liberty. I find this affiliation to freedom and liberty to come from a supernatural admiration of birds. They do something we cannot, and that is to fly. I question how much of freedom we would see in birds if we were capable of flying. I mean our airplanes look like birds in a sense, however that hardly replicates the idea of human flight. But there was an interesting point made by Rubin were he states that birds are closer to the heavens and in a sense we envy that physical attainability of such. Well this also to me is a support for the idea that we think of freedom and liberty as a means of reaching supernatural or big conceptually driven goals. For instance for a major part of human history the idea of reaching heaven at the end of life was the ultimate satisfactory prize of a life well lived. Birds then would seem as close to heaven and thus I cant help of think about religion's role in this freedom and liberty aspect of birds.
There was a section of the essay devoted to Identity and Autobiography which sparked interest in me personally. the usage of animals has always been an interest of mine to explore cultural identity. I find it interesting how to a human eye assumingly all tigers look the same or all eagles look the same, etc. This to me is a perfect example of idiosyncrasies within uniform. the idea that thou dominating uniforms exist in nature there is still distinctive traits or qualities which create individuals within a uniform. Take for instance the discussion of Roni Horn in Rubin;s writings, there is a point were he discusses Horns process in documenting birds and attaching two photographs back to back of different birds and how initially the distinction between the two different birds is not apparent. However I am willing to be there is an almost automatic differentiation process that would happen if these images were presented to other birds of the same class. In extension I guess its almost like the idea of how to us in popular media aliens are always portrayed as multiples of one aesthetic. So therefore all aliens are little green men that look exactly the same. It begs me to question how other species see humans, and if they , they being animals etc, see the differences that we make such a big fuss about in our cultural disagreements.
The idea of freedom and indentity brings to mind Feliz Gonzalez Torres bildboard works of the flying birds in a grey sky. They to me have always expressed a very quiet yet assertive message of liberation and mass communication.
This following video I'm attaching is a video work done by a friend of mine named Jared Hatch. I think it brings to thought a lot of applying human activity to animal visuals. Like how we use animal cartoon characters to relate to more easily in children s education and entertainment. It also is an interesting exploration of overlapping and blending of species.