Julian Charriere / Julius Von Bismarck

It's like a bird mated with a rainbow.

The pigeon hordes of Venice might be a delight to world travelers, who allow the vacuous-faced birds to perch on their arms and shoulders as if they were living roost trees.

But to many locals, no doubt the bird swarms have become tiresome, something to be avoided when crossing a public square or cursed at in the event of a sneaky airborne poo-bombing.

So how can we make the pigeons of Venice interesting again to Venetians? That's simple: Give them a fresh coat of paint!

Artists Julian Charrière and Julius von Bismarck did just that for their piece in this year's Biennale, "Some Pigeons Are More Equal Than Others." While some people might cry out over the supposed cruelty of hunting down pigeons, locking them in a vaguely scary-sounding "apparatus," and spray-painting them to look like carnival clowns, have you ever tried it? It certainly sounds more fun than puttering around in a vaporetto or gondola just like millions of other tourists.

The pigeon project is in Phase 2, with Berlin's Charrière and, uh, European Organization for Nuclear Research-based von Bismarck (he's the guy who likes to bullwhip mountains) already having beautified a few lucky birds in Copenhagen. How did they accomplish this? You'll never guess. FYI, I cleaned up this slice of Charrière's copy a bit:

The project is about dyeing 35 pigeons in the city of Copenhagen. A "pigeon apparatus" was built with this purpose. The machine works as a bird trap with a conveyor-belt mechanism. Once inside the machine the pigeons get automatically airbrushed in different colors. The machine was installed for a week on a roof in Copenhagen.

Brilliant. Now we just need to add glitter to the squirrels, and our cities will be fabulous.

(Photos courtesy of the artists via Designboom's user-submission forums.)

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. 1970s apartment complex in downtown Buffalo
    Equity

    The Last Man Standing in a Doomed Buffalo Housing Complex

    After a long fight between tenants and management, John Schmidt is waiting for U.S. Marshals to drag him out of Shoreline apartments, a Brutalist project designed by Paul Rudolph.

  2. Transportation

    How Toronto Turned an Airport Rail Failure Into a Commuter Asset

    The Union Pearson Express launched with expensive rides and low ridership. Now, with fares slashed in half and a light rail connection in the works, it’s a legitimate transit alternative for workers.

  3. An aisle in a grocery store
    Equity

    It's Not the Food Deserts: It's the Inequality

    A new study suggests that America’s great nutritional divide goes deeper than the problem of food access within cities.

  4. Equity

    Did Jane Jacobs Predict the Rise of Trump?

    Ever prescient, her final book outlined a coming dark age—and how to get through it.

  5. Harlequin books are pictured at a store in Ottawa.
    Life

    Want to Make It in the Gig Economy? Emulate Romance Novelists

    Their three keys to success: They welcome newcomers, they share competitive information, and they ask advice from newbies.