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Pigeons-resilient urban survivors, both pest and pet, scourge and servant, ubiquitous around the world-serve this project's quest given their keen, poignant historical relationships to human beings and their efforts in realms of navigation, orientation and communication.

Posing questions on increasingly fluid notions of place, distance, travel and time in response to the impositions and transformations of technology on our lives, Phase One, The Pigeon Project begins by looking at navigational strategies in the urban environment through the study of the natural and cultural history of pigeons.

September 22 & 23, 2000 Roof Top Performances, Brooklyn
October 5-15, 2000 Performance Space 122, NYC
Fall 2001 National Tour

The development of this work begins by observing trained pigeons on the roof tops of New York City. I am currently working with both the pigeon keeper, Julio across the street who has approximately 400 pigeons. From these ongoing observations and recordings, Lo and I will identify and distill patterns of flight and rest, like, for example, the spiraling flight formations of the pigeons as they inscribe increasingly broad circles across the cityscape, patterns which will inform the work's physical movement and sonic structure simultaneously. We will broaden our investigation to include metaphors for orientation and travel: dynamic changes in perspective-distance, approach, retreat-created spatially by the dancers and aurally by the live mix of sound cues made up of pre-recorded computer-manipulated natural sounds.

For this piece, we hear the turbulence of a few thousand wings flapping, tiny heart beats, wind, bird calls and the quiet meandering cooing of the birds at rest; each building a sonic landscape whose evoked associations, in turn, feeds and intermixes with the work's choreographic structure. The result will stimulate the audiences' own sense of orientation and navigation during the performance.

Lenore Doxsee (lighting designer) enhances the audiences experience of time and distance through shade and subtle changes in light created by a pulley device integrated into the lighting system. The set is a compilation of rotating badminton birdies by Jonathan Berger and bundled feathers by Barbara Monoian. Our collaboration will integrate the spontaneity and immediacy of my improvisational work with a rigorous exploration of complex set structures that feedback and forth between the music, visual and light components and the dance.

The Pigeon Project is available for touring Fall 2001 in conjunction with workshops and outreach activities that integrate BIRD BRAIN's aims to creatively link science, art, conservation and education communities.

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