If I had to summarize a movement that I try to generate, it would be to make people raise their heads and be able to enjoy the nature that surrounds them.
Ornithographies: Tracing the Invisible Movements of Bird Flight | Xavi Bou
Xavi Bou is a Catalan artist whose project Ornithographies captures the unique movements of birds in flight. His distinctive and innovative approach has left many in awe.
“The ornithographies reveal what escapes human perception: the invisible patterns traced by birds in the sky when they fly.”
Xavi’s work induces a sense of intimacy with the natural world, helping to create environmental awareness. To notice the unnoticed and bring movement into physical reality, his work captures the rhythms of nature in a poetic manner, finding the equilibrium between science and art. Though his previous work has been about birds, he is expanding his research and studying new subjects, such as insects.
“It’s the balance between art and science: a project of naturalistic discovery and, at the same time, an exercise in visual poetry.”
We interviewed Xavi to get a deeper understanding of his perspective on nature, movement, and art.
What developed your interest in capturing bird flight?
My interest in nature, especially birds, goes back to my childhood. I am from a small city next to Barcelona called Prat del Llobregat, where, in addition to the Barcelona airport, there are important wetlands for migratory birds.
Since I was very little, I used to see my grandfather go for walks in the countryside and come back with his list of species that he had seen that day. He opened the door for me to the world of nature, which over the years has only grown. As an adult, he dedicated me to fashion and advertising photography, especially post-production. Until one day I realized that this job was not fulfilling and I wanted to make a change towards a dedication more aligned with my values. It was then that I considered doing an art project related to birds.
Why is your project called Ornithographies?
Ornithographies is the combination of the Greek words “ornitho,” meaning “bird,” and “graphy,” which refers to drawing. It is a concept that I invented to define the idea that, with this technique, birds draw their trails in the sky when flying.
If you could be a bird, which would you choose and why?
It is a very difficult question. Probably one of the crow family due to its intelligence, social life, and ability to perform acrobatic flights. Although it would be fascinating to be a migratory bird and be able to see the world from the air.
Birds fly to places that are more abundant in resources with seasonal change, whereas we humans are restricted by borders. Do you think there is a possibility to learn about movement and freedom in the era of climate change by understanding migratory bird behaviors?
While humans cannot directly replicate the freedom of movement exhibited by migratory birds, understanding their behaviors and adapting some of their strategies may offer valuable insights for managing the challenges posed by climate change and fostering sustainable coexistence between humans and nature.
Even though humanity’s impact on the natural world has been wounding, how can we move forward by acknowledging art as part of the healing process? Do you create your work with this perspective in mind?
Acknowledging art as part of the healing process is indeed a valuable approach to addressing the wounds humanity has inflicted on the natural world.
Art has the power to evoke emotions, inspire empathy, and provoke reflection, making it a potent tool for raising awareness and initiating positive change.
With my art, I try to make a positive impact by showing how even nature can surprise us in a unique way. I work with common species normally found in cities or peripheral areas; in this way, I intend to value nearby nature, which you can enjoy simply by raising your head and looking around you.
What kind of movement are you creating on Earth? Would you say your rhythms are in sync with the rhythms of nature?
If I had to summarize a movement that I try to generate, it would be to make people raise their heads and be able to enjoy the nature that surrounds them without having to travel or take long walks. Simply doing an exercise of paying attention to the songs of the birds, to the changes of the seasons, I think this connection would help us a lot to value the natural areas in the spaces in which we live and the importance of preserving and promoting them in order to live in a better world.
When working with nature, it is inevitable to be connected to its rhythm. It makes me very happy that my annual schedule is synchronized with the migration.