Passing – Captive – Still

(Rare Breed Birds)




contemporary art, othering, captive birds, interspecies


The images in Passing Captive Still depict humans together with birds in cages, their respective presence conjoined at eye-level. In this series, both human actors and the birds themselves are, in every case, seen through the cage bars suggesting a subversive, equalizing narrative. The strategic, pictorial conflation produces an uncanniness, which is both quaint and unsettling. As far as the images themselves are to be believed, both species are apparently “imprisoned” in the pictorial space. In order further to upset what might be the expected power balance of the auction house and event, the various bird individuals, pairs or groupings, appear always in front of the human actors, thereby privileging them within that space. An objective, reflective and contextualising commentary is interspersed alternately with a subjective view, apparently from the position of those held captive against their will.


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Author Biography

  • Snæbjörnsdóttir/Wilson, University of Cumbria & University of the Arts, Iceland

    Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir and Mark Wilson are a collaborative art partnership. Their interdisciplinary art practice explores issues of history, culture and environment in human and more-than-human relations. Working very often in close consultation with experts and amateurs in the field, their work tests cultural constructs and tropes, and human behaviour in respect of ecologies, site, extinction, conservation, and the environment. Underpinning much of their practice are issues of psychological and physical displacement and realignment in respect of land and environment and the effect of these positions on cultural perspectives. Their artworks have been exhibited throughout the UK and internationally and they are frequent speakers at international conferences on issues related to their practice. Their works have been widely discussed in texts across many disciplinary fields and regularly cited as contributing to knowledge in the expanded field of research-based art practice.

    Bryndís Snæbjörnsdóttir (PhD) is Professor of Fine Art at the Iceland University of the Arts, Reykjavík.

    Mark Wilson (PhD) is Professor in Fine Art at the Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria, UK.







How to Cite

Wilson and Snæbjörnsdóttir, Mark and Bryndís. 2024. “Passing – Captive – Still : (Rare Breed Birds) ”. Humanimalia 14 (2): 1–22.