CENTRALA and Natalia Budnik, Warmly about Seagulls, 2022, installation in frame of NARRACJE #13 festival, 18-19 November 2022, Gdańsk

We gather opposite the nesting platform of the common gull. Infrared illuminators warm us on this cold festival evening. The flow of energy, invisible to the naked eye, is revealed by thermal imaging cameras.

Temperature regulates many biological processes occurring in our environment. Individual growth and development, species behaviour, and interspecies interactions are all related to temperature. It also influences the changes occurring in food chains.

Increasing numbers of seagulls in our cities are just one example of the changes taking place in the network of natural connections. The birds nest on rooftops and feed in ports, waste collectors, and landfills. And yet seagulls are migratory birds that move between breeding and wintering grounds due to cyclical changes in weather conditions and food availability. What is the motivation behind migration in a warming climate and a radically transformed urban environment?

Feeling chilled, we gather opposite the nesting platform of the common gull. In the sky above us, the last birds are flying away to wintering grounds. We look at the now-empty platform through holes imitating the seagulls’ field of vision. Will a new pair move here in spring?

Warmly about Seagulls, Narracje #13, 2022, fot. Bogna Kociumbas-Kos

Warmly about Seagulls, Narracje #13, 2022, fot. Bogna Kociumbas-Kos

Further reading

Narracje #13 festival review by Antoni Michnik, Zmieniaj globalnie, działaj lokalnie? Narracje 2022, Magazyn Szum, online 02.12.2022 [in Polish only]

[…] The work “Warmly About Seagulls” by CENTRALA and Natalia Budnik was particularly powerful in this context – located opposite a grey gull nesting platform on the Martwa Wisła river, it presented information about the birds, illustrated their range of vision, and encouraged collctive warming under infrared heaters, through which groups of audience de facto performed collective seagull behaviour. In this work, the interspecies parallels brilliantly combined science (and I haven’t yet mentioned visualising heat loss among the audience) and performative aspects.