Humans have historically co-inhabited sites with companion species. Many were always present, but many non-human animals have also been mobilised by the human, often introduced into foreign spaces. The intentions for these actions by the human carry complex contradictions – in our encounters with birds we find a hybrid of anthropocentrism and affection for the way animals have been imagined in relation to the human. These histories and affects are layered and knotted: colonial, migratory, nationalistic, anthropogenic.
‘To companion a companion’ is an exhibition of new work by Argentinean-Australian artist Fernando do Campo that proposes the human as the companion species to birds. It proposes ‘companioning’ as an artistic strategy through painting and archiving, listening and non-verbal forms of responding, and plural histories. It includes the painting series ‘365 Daily Bird Lists (January 3rd 2019 – January 2nd 2020)’ which presents a year-long archive of every bird perceived by the artist, alongside the video ‘Pishing in the archive’ 2021 that documents forms of non-verbal communication with the history of house sparrows in the Americas via Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, and the performance lecture ‘The archive of we’ 2021 discussing these knotted histories.
For further details on this exhibition, visit the UNSW Galleries website
Exhibition Dates: 7 May – 31 July 2021
Location: UNSW Galleries, Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd, Paddington NSW 2021
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10am – 5pm
Image: Fernando do Campo, ‘Pishing in the archive’ 2021 (still). Single-channel HD video. Courtesy: the artist