A conversation about what moves us.
Ten years ago Xavi Bou wondered what the tracks of bird flight would look like if we could perceive them. Since then, he synchronizes his calendar and his own movements with those of different birds, investigating their behaviors and interactions to make their flight patterns visible. The result is an interspecies collaboration: in his photographs the birds draw on the sky, inscribing their movement in the landscape. They are the traces of transfer, of play, of courtship, of hunting; movements imbued with meaning and doing. The beauty and the enigma of the trail.
Referring to tracking, philosopher Baptiste Morizot defines it as "the sensibility and availability to the signs of other forms of life." If we see nothing in nature—Morizot tells us— "it is not only because of ignorance of ecological, ethological and evolutionary knowledge, but because we live in a cosmology according to which there is supposedly nothing to see there; that is, nothing to translate: there is no meaning to interpret."
This photographic series reminds us that there is indeed something to notice and interpret. In these images, movement reveals relationships, synchronicity with other bodies, intelligences, rhythms, languages, codes. A way of making meaning. Bou does not offer us an exact interpretation of the meaning of the birds' flight, but by showing us their trail condensed in a single instant and striped of linear time, he allows us to become sensible and available to their signs. Perceived no longer for their anatomy but for their movement, the bodies reveal their significant participation in the world.
"...in threading their own paths through the meshwork, beings contribute to its ever-evolving weave."
— Tim Ingold
Morizot, Baptiste (2021). Maneras de Estar Vivo. Errata Naturae, Madrid.
Ornithographies was also published as a photo-book, which you can find here.
Published on June, 2023
Volume 7, Issue 2