Citizen - Marten Lange Book

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Marten Lange
Etudes Books

32 pages
22cm x 28cm

Edition of 500

Mårten Lange intermittently lived in London for 4 years. Just before he left, he started photographing the birds surrounding him. In cities like London, feral pigeons are predominant. Their round eyes, which Patrick Süskind compared to a camera in his book, The Pigeon, are mechanically pointed at you. With sufficient technology, they could become inescapable surveillance tools, evoking the feeling of the pet owl possessed by Eldon Tyrell in the dystopian movie Blade Runner.

Ironically, birds are presumed free by essence. Due to their ability to fly, they supposedly know neither limits nor boundaries. Yet, while a wing stroke could carry them anywhere, pigeons seem embedded in cities: glued to power lines or building balconies. Poles apart from a migrating bird; they are trapped in their concrete ecosystem. They seem to have always been here, en masse, like feathered sentinels to something sacred that only they perceive. Often immobile, they guard the city like the colossus that once guarded Rhodes.

Shot at close range in black and white, Lange’s portraits of pigeons are almost clinical. It’s as if these birds had to renew their passports and needed a photo. However, like a true citizen, they probably will never use it.

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