If anyone wants to get to know the Great Grey Shrike (Lanius excubitor), they should look at its tail patterns. Each individual has its own barcode.
I made hundred ninety-eight drawings of black tail-patterns of all the Great Grey Shrikes in the Dutch collections, especially from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden. If you look at the overall picture of those drawings, you see bar codes and think of DNA profiles. And this is of course done intentionally. You see patterns that are broadly speaking the same, but they are in fact all different. The idea is that these patterns say something about the identity of the individual birds. There are no scientific pretensions at all with this work. I only want to show how things are: ‘As soon as I see hundred tail feathers of Great Grey Shrikes, a sense is awakened in me: the one relating to connection and differences. It is mostly a pleasure in the abstract. I can’t give it words, and I can certainly not say exactly why this fascinates me so much.’
Made possible by financial support from Mondriaan Fund