Of birds and men

31 May 2021
With their audiovisual performance „The Migrants“, Juan Cortes, Santiago Arcila and Atractor Studio re-contextualise migration by adapting the Indigenous approach of assuming animal perspective.
Credits:

The Migrants is a video game and a multichannel performance from 2014 that is based on a real migration routes of birds. Due to global warming, the Golden Warbler birds faced storms on the coasts of Florida which used to be their main destination. This caused the birds to alter their migratory routes exploring alternative way through Mexico and Central America until arriving in Colombia.

A short preview can be found in this Youtube video.

The performance, produced by Colombian artists Juan Cortes and Santiago Arcila, in cooperation with Atractor Studio, uses the Amerindian approach of adopting the point of view of the animal. A prosthesis allows the player to assume the role of the main character in the game who must overcome obstacles: walls, electric fences, communication antennas, and pollution.

The Migrants comes in the form of a video, a live performance and as an interactive video game and will be performed at Haus der elektronischen Künste in Basel and at Theater Chur.

On the screens, we see  the reality with bird’s eyes as it begins its journey from a forest in Canada to the mountains of Tolemaida in Colombia. The performer struggles to follow the path while collecting food for itself and its flock in an attempt not to die in the long journey.

It is crucial to understand that in its journey, the bird is a seed disperser, a forest weaver. The bird recovers and feeds ecological niches. In this context, The Migrants encourages reflection on the complexity of migrations and massive displacements in the human sphere, but also the cultural and social fabrics which result from it.

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