Refugee Project - De Bijlmer

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Refugee Project - Ornithological Participation

When you think of refugees, chances are, you will immediately picture humans in your mind. But the first thing that came to my mind, were animals!

By doing research on the Bijlmer, I discovered that most people didn’t care much for animals. They would tell about pigeons or say that the people themselves are animals.

I decided to dig a little deeper and in a secluded area, a safe-haven called De Toevlucht was discovered, a small island in the east-side of the Bijlmer area, where wounded and fleeing animals would be given solace until they could manage on their own again.
These animals are mostly city-animals like pigeons, jackdaws, seagulls and hedgehogs.

After my discovery I started doubting; Do we really need to save all these animals? Do these animals become extinct if we don’t act? Do we maybe think we are better people when we save these animals? Is it because it makes us feel better?

My research has not led to an answer to these questions, however, it has led to a nightly public intervention right on the Anton De Komplein.

When crossing the Anton De Komplein at night, a projection of a flock of birds will appear around you. They look like abstract birds. On the other side of the square a colored shape is also projected. The birds will approach and follow you and are white. Do they need your help? Why do they follow you around on the square?

No clear details will be made available to the public, this interactive ‘game’ is meant for them to find out, and meant to transfer a passerby into a participant.

My goal was to create an intervention and to draw people in.

If someone passes the square and brings the flock of birds to the colored shape, some of the birds will gain the color of the shape and the shape will disappear. A new shape will appear somewhere else. This goes on until all the birds have a color and then they fly around the square and eventually fly away. After this the whole ‘game’ starts over.

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