Humans have historically co-inhabited sites with companion species. Many were always present, but many non-human animals have also been mobilised by the human, often introduced into foreign spaces. The intentions for these actions by the human carry complex contradictions – in our encounters with birds we find a hybrid of anthropocentrism and affection for the way animals have been imagined in relation to the human. These histories and affects are layered and knotted: colonial, migratory, nationalistic, anthropogenic.
‘To companion a companion’ is an exhibition of new work by Argentinean-Australian artist Fernando do Campo that proposes the human as the companion species to birds. It proposes ‘companioning’ as an artistic strategy through painting and archiving, listening and non-verbal forms of responding, and plural histories. It includes the painting series ‘365 Daily Bird Lists (January 3rd 2019 – January 2nd 2020)’ which presents a year-long archive of every bird perceived by the artist, alongside the video ‘Pishing in the archive’ 2021 that documents forms of non-verbal communication with the history of house sparrows in the Americas via Green-wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, and the performance lecture ‘The archive of we’ 2021 presented alongside the HSSH (House Sparrow Society for Humans) discussing these knotted multispecies histories.
The Companion Companion Reader is an accompanying website conceptualised by the artist and designed by Will Lee to collect commissioned writings by invited human companions from multiple disciplines. It includes contributions by Erin Hortle, Talia Linz, Timo Rissanen & Zoë Sadokierski, Annie Potts, Paul Kelaita, Kent Morris and more forthcoming: www.companioncompanionreader.com