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A Wild Goose Chase?
Reasearch and two-sided blanket
Collage printed on satin, 140 x 140 cm
Eindhoven, Dec 2021
The European Union has classified species as ‘invasive exotics’, when considered harmful to the native flora and fauna and thus forming a threat to biodiversity. Each member country is obliged to combat these species and restrain them for further spreading and breeding.
Due to human influences of globalisation and climate change, the amount of immigrant species is increasing rapidly. In other words, human impact on the physical environment provoke the rise of ‘invasive species’ which subsequently humans need to eradicate. This raises severe questions of the moral responsibility of humans acting ‘like masters of nature’.
Locally, when going through the Dutch province of North Brabant’s “Action Plan for Invasive Exotics”, a rather special bird piqued our curiosity. The Egyptian goose, being an animal with the capability of flying and transcending borders, already resides in the Netherlands for many years. It appears that the goose, is no longer welcome across Europe and has been declared as “Invasive alien species of Union concern”. A sales ban, the phasing out from zoos any other form of ownership, a rapid eradication of any newly emerging populations or the management of established populations, ... are all set out regulations by the European commission.
The proposed two sided blanket is considered as an attempt for the encounter of a human and the Egyptian goose in its local habitat. Based on a picnic setting, it imagines the possibility of allowing a human and the bird to meet the physical, political and historical aspects of the goose.
The Game Of The Egyptian Goose
Based on the centuries old ‘Game of the Goose’, this alternate version invites players to discover the world of the Egyptian goose. With the aim to reach the end of the spiral first, players are addressed as geese and face the past and present reality of the bird, a tale of struggle and glory. The board functions as a story telling journey for the players and reveals, bit by bit, pieces of the bird’s narrative.
The Emperor has Goosebumps
The blanket’s other side aims to represent the rich and aesthetic plumage of the Egytpian goose and emphasises the initial reason why it was imported to Europe. Moreover, it invites the human to experience the environment from the goose’s perspective. The multilayered collage functions dually when laid flat as an animal rug and as a camouflaged skin when housed by a human. The texture was made trough the use of fifteen different images of fifteen different Egyptian geese. The digitally unfolded plumage emphasises the humanness attempt of failed representation of a bird. No matter how many miles, a human might try to walk in the bird’s palmates, it will never be in its capability to truly grasp the bird’s existence.
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