Two hundred gulls have nested on the window sills of the City Hall tower. This iconic building seems to have been stormed by these common birds associated with Le Havre.
This installation was created by artist, designer, and curator Patrick Murphy. This design enthusiast – founder of several dedicated events such as the Sheffield Design Week – had already created several swarms of pigeons in the past. One of them took over the premises of the building hosting the Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art in 2012. This installation was then called Belonging, an English word used to describe a feeling which can only be translated in French by the following phrase : « Sentiment d’appartenance ».
The proliferation and multiplication of these gulls make for a disturbing sight, like a looming threat reminding us of Alfred Hitchcock's thriller movie The Birds.
Sentiment d’appartenance (à chaque oiseau son nid est beau)* echoes the ambiguous relationship we have with these common birds in our cities : at the crossroads between mistrust and tolerance, the basis for cohabitation must be balanced. We have to fight against the feeling of fear or rejection caused by this « invasion ». In the words of Patrick Murphy, these anthropomorphised pigeons and gulls may represent any group that struggles to find a natural home or sense of acceptance within a shared territory.
* Belonging (to every bird, its own nest is beautiful)