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Pigeon lights, Printball and a spinning computer

By Rhizome

Had a great time last week in Amsterdam (always have when i'm there). I spent some time in the basement of the Post CS building checking the 10.000 euros show, curated by Constant Dullaart, at the W139 gallery. Several very nice projects:

Harm van den Dorpels's Windows Washing machine was silently and efficiently doing its job. I also really liked Peter Vink's Traffic Collection video. The traffic which passed by in Arnhem is collected outside the videoframe and forms a spiral around the videoscreen. The videoscreen becomes smaller and smaller to make space for the increasing collection of cars.

Jasper van den Brink spent the winter of 2004 as an artist in residence in Stockholm. The light came only at 10 a.m. and disappeared at 2 p.m. That's how he got the idea of releasing over the city large flocks of pigeons with very small LED light attached to their legs so that people walking below could observe their light dance in the sky. Because homing pigeons always fly home straight away, the light can easily be removed after the flight.

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In both World Wars, pigeons were used for spying activities. Besides sending airmail, they could be equipped with small cameras for taking aerial photos (image of a pigeon camera).

Unfortunately the artist had to cancel the Pigeon Light project as it turned out that pigeons cannot easily find their way home in the dark because they navigate by the sun. Recnet research however indicate that pigeons have two additional navigation tools: a magnetic compass and a scent compass. But it's clear that navigation doesn't depend on any one system. In fact it is possible, albeit difficult, to train pigeons to become "night flying pigeons." Part of the training entails chasing them back into the dark when they want to return before dusk. And they will be able to flight at night only if their biological clock is completely reset.

The picture Pigeons Can't Flight At Night is part of van den Brink's ongoing research to train the birds to flight at night.

Over the weekend there were performances by dePonk --Geraud de Bizien and Bnjmn Gaulon. They were showing their PrintBall, a kind of Ink-Jet printer that uses a PaintBall Gun as printhead. The system is connected to a Max/Msp based software that allows the users to load and analyze images. (images from the performance.)

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The show is on until the 2nd of July. Every Friday during the month there's/was a new opening and new works are added to the show.

Btw more uses for pigeons: Canceled Flight, blogging pigeons, Pigeon-Empowered Wireless Internet, and if you're in London, don't miss the Urban Eyes project at the HTTP gallery.

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