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Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway
Zugunruhe, or migratory restlessness, is an 19th-century ornithological term describing a strange phenomenon found in caged birds. During spring and fall birds would flutter against the bars of their cages in their migratory directions, proving to researchers that the urge to migrate is innate, not circumstantial, and that birds possess an internal navigation system similar to a compass.We are at the precipice of the next mass extinction event, heralded by the loss of migratory bird populations along the Atlantic Flyway. The fluttering of zugunruhe echoes the lost populations of birds missing from their annual migrations, those preserved in museums, those who have gone extinct. How might we remember these lost birds? How do we mourn our current climate crisis? From within a capitalist industrialized present how do we hold a militarized, colonial history to account? When the rituals and memorials of this history are re-membered and re-performed can we see what future has been irrevocably changed and lost?Traditionally a colour guard is a prestigious unit within a state military charged with protection of powerful symbols such as flags and regimental colours. Members of a military colour guard wave brightly coloured flags, throwing and twirling sparkling batons to signal the army's presence and give hope to lost soldiers in the battlefield. A wing fluttering against a cage, a baton twirling restlessly at dusk. Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway is a performance and installation at Margaret Bowater Park, honouring these species that have been lost, and signalling to those still left.
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