Intro to Urban Wildlife Elegy

The root image in Urban Wildlife Elegy was sampled from this photograph of Igor the pigeon taken by Laurie Spiegel. The photograph shows Igor as a very young pigeon, barely out of the egg. I have come to appreciate pigeons as urban wildlife embodying the passive/aggressive nature of survival in New York City. Although pigeons have been referred to as "rats with wings," they are about as far from rats as you could get in not being carnivores. However, they are scarcely timid, which differentiates them from mice. Pigeons possess a tough edge offset against a strange mixture of grace and absurdity. They remind me of Charlie Chaplin's classic tramp character: ridiculous and poetic at the same time. Urban Wildlife Elegy lasts 4 minutes, 45 seconds, then loops. Purposefully slow-paced, the piece aims to generate eye contact with my artistic impression of Igor. I was influenced by Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot because it metamorphosed the Chaplinesque tramp figure, bringing forth surreal possibilities. Here Igor the pigeon is transformed, his visage floating at that crepuscular cusp point between fear and fascination. I find it sad how we take pigeons for granted. These odd little winged creatures peering up at us from city sidewalks are highly sentient beings, observing us even as we try so very hard to ignore them. I can't even begin to imagine what they must think of us. Surely, they must feel as if they are living in the midst of monsters, thrust into a nightmare world they can only behold in awe. Urban Wildlife Elegy attempts to project back at us their nightmare by opening a portal onto the face of the beholder. Although Waiting for Godot was my primary influence, Laurie Spiegel inspired the piece. Laurie and I have shared a life together for the past twelve years in a loft in Tribeca. Laurie is a wonderful composer and a brilliant writer of computer software who has opened my eyes/ears/mind in many ways. She taught me how to use a computer, which enabled me to put up this site. Her music has been a deep source of inspiration in taking an organic approach to digital art. Such an organic approach is perfect for rendering the feelings/thoughts of creatures lacking command of language. Rhythm is a critical element in Urban Wildlife Elegy. Each frame functions as the visual equivalent of a musical note. The piece advances the animated text form through clearly establishing a dichotomy between text and image. Text formulates mechanically, while imagery stops, starts, defining visual flow. A high-speed Internet connection is required and I recommend using Firefox as your browser.

View Urban Wildlife Elegy