Midterm: What do We Need to Care for our Environment?

Though people know that the skies are polluted, society often finds its priorities elsewhere away from any environmental concerns. They treat what is visible as invisible, and when they care about something beyond their own interests, someone else has to take charge is leading and showing the way for any reaction. The ugly side of an urban environment becomes easy to ignore: dirty skies and “flying rats” among others. Sci-Artist Beatriz da Costa demonstrates this concern with public acknowledgement of health and environmental issues through her artwork PigeonBlog in a collaboration with Cina Hazegh and Kevin Ponto. In PigeonBlog, designed and implemented in 2006-08 as a part of UC Irvine’s Seminar in Experimental Critical Theory and the Inter Society for Electronic Arts Festival, Beatriz da Costa raises public awareness of life in urban ecologies, especially in heavily polluted regions of California, by implementing fascinating modes of communicating this concern in the field of citizen science, which is the collection and analysis of data relating to the natural world by members of the general public.1 Through this project, she and her collaborators document in video and data collection a mutual relationship between people, technology, homing pigeons, and their environment. This work features homing pigeons carrying custom-built miniature air pollution sensing devices which collect and send ,mlocalized information in real-time over Google’s mapping environment, thus allowing immediate access to this via the internet.2 The public fails to do or care about ecological or environmental issues unless they are catered through some fascinating method, such as the PigeonBlog, to examine those issues, which in this case is the collaboration between animal and human technology. Though awareness is raised, her work gathers interest unrelated to her original intention. PigeonBlog’s message only speaks to an extent as an attempt to call the public to action because it features more of an technological and political impression rather than an activist movement.http://www.beatrizdacosta.net/files/pigeonstatement.pdf

Addison Bi


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