Palomas






This work was produced during a residency at La Postiza, Murcia, and was exhibited in a cave exhibition space Art N Ground as part of Sonora I Sound Festival.

 Colombicultura is a traditional sport in Murcia, Spain involving men and pigeons (palomas). It is similar to pigeon racing but this sport does not score pigeons on speed but rather on their ability to attract a female pigeon. Dozens of males must chase a single female, and score points according to how close they get to her. To save confusion, the owners (palomistas) paint their males bright colours to tell them apart. These colours often reference their football teams and pigeons are commonly named after Spanish football players, creating a bizarrely macho relationship between men and birds.

In La Cueva (the village in which La Postiza is based) the landscape is punctuated by beautifully old, and brightly coloured bird houses, and the sky is dotted with unnaturally bright pigeons. We wanted to convey the strikingness of these colours in relation to the landscape, and so created a generative sound environment to 'listen' to the colours of the birds. Local palomistas donated their brightly painted bird houses, out of which we digitaly projected the birds’ colours along with the sound, allowing you to see and hear the colours simultaneously.

Online, data is provided on local league tables including photographs of the competing palomas. Using these images we isolated their colours, and processed them in the plugin BeepMap for FL Studio. BeepMap uses colour data to control synthesizer oscillators, creating a unique sound for every colour. We also converted the points scored into sound through the algorithmic web-application MusicAlgorithms. Listening to this faster, more punctuated sound you can recognise patterns in the birds' movements - the longer the note, the higher the score and the closer he is to the female.




Installation shot of Palomas





Photographs of the bird houses and painted pigeons in La Cueva