Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Mapping out human-bird interactions in the Pacific Anthropocene and better understanding their entangled histories and emerging ecologies, is often undertaken from a terrestrial or even marine perspective. In this paper, I intend to shuffle those perspective and draw on air lines, asking about mechanical birds and other manmade wings now crossing (and increasingly occupying) contemporary austronesian skies.
In fact, if birds have played an important role in many Pacific societies, such relationships were necessarily established from afar. Ground towards sky - with projections of hunting or manting activities being gravitationally tied to land (or sea), not air. Over the last 25 years, another space has come to be shared between birds and humans, this time higher up, closer to the sun. To a point where hundreds of thousands of planes now fly annually over the Pacific.
Altitude, speed, noise, air currents - more and more research is currently undertaken to better grasp such aerial colonising phenomenon. How does one share a space that was, until recently, only accessible to non-humans? And what can we learn, anthropologically, cosmologically, from such occupations?
Looking at airport traffic, hub tourism and the impact of moving millions of humans each year across this particular region of the world, I wish to add another layer, a anthropogenic and mechanical one if we like, to discussions about human-birds entanglements - in hoping to provide a better vision/sensitivity towards humans becoming birds and birds having to meet us on their own « ground ».