after spending an extended period of time working on our first collage, the birds’ take-over of civita, we have decided to step back from it for a while and move on to the next species. the birds’ world was initially the hardest for me to envision regardless of the fact that we have more information about how and why birds build than we do any other species.
mike hansell’s book bird nests and construction behaviour was especially helpful, inspiring and informative. and even though we had not heard of him or his book before writing our project proposal, he specifically mentions the architecture of birds, termites and spiders within the first two pages of the book. this was really exciting for us to discover and realize that someone else, particularly someone who has dedicated his life to studying creatures of the world, had also determined that those three species were the most noteworthy builders of all. it seemed to be a sign that our project was on the right path.
but it was still hard for us to imagine what the birds would do and how they would impact the appearance of civita if humans really did cease to exist there. and then one day curiosity got the best of us, as it tends to do, and we decided to explore the abandoned school building that we pass every time we walk into bagnoregio. and upon climbing up the overgrown steps we soon realized that this apparently empty building was actually quite inhabited… by birds!
almost all of the windows were broken. plants were growing into and out of the building. there was glass, plant debris and excrement covering all the floors. and the second we entered the building, they all exited immediately. that experience really helped me imagine what would happen in civita, and ideas started racing through my mind. particularly the ways that vegetation could and would overcome all the buildings and streets. it would just flow up from the valleys below and cover all the stone and terracotta. civita would become a very green world.
the abandoned school building was really interesting to me even we don’t know anything about how or why it came to be in that state… so much irony exists in the fact that it’s located so close to the etruscan settlement of civita, which is older than rome and still lives on, and yet the school building which was probably built only in the 1970’s has already been left to the birds.
and their oh-so-fascinating mounds….