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Calling Crows, performance 2005, video 2006

Calling Crows was a performance that took place every Wednesday throughout 2005. Each week, I went out on my apartment balcony in a crow mask and black suit to call crows using a crow call.

The full video shows footage from each week chronologically, looping the entire year over and over. The video posted here is a shortened version with selected excerpts from the full version.

Photo Credits: Gareth Lichty

Image 1 of 'Calling Crows' Image 2 of 'Calling Crows' Image 3 of 'Calling Crows' Image 4 of 'Calling Crows' Image 5 of 'Calling Crows' Image 6 of 'Calling Crows'
Video excerpts of 'Calling Crows' Image 7 of 'Calling Crows' Image 8 of 'Calling Crows' Image 9 of 'Calling Crows' Image 10 of 'Calling Crows' Image 11 of 'Calling Crows'
Image 12 of 'Calling Crows'

Mark Prier’s performative video Calling Crows captures Mark’s attempt to reach out to the crow community in Corner Brook, Newfoundland.  Every Wednesday for one year, Mark dressed up in a suit and tie and performed a ritualized, formal call to the crows.  Wearing a crow’s mask and armed with a crows call, the artist stood on his balcony and attempted to make contact across species.  While courting the crows in conversation, Mark simultaneously documented his own becoming-animal.  In his time-lapsed video, Mark begins to emulate bird-like movements while maintaining his humanness in form and in costume.  Shivering in the cold and expressively disappointed by the crow’s lack of engagement, the artist creates a performance that is endearingly pathetic; a gesture of emotion is met with silence.  The ritual and repetition of the attempted communication converges with Mark’s increasingly disparate relationship between human and animal.  Only once or twice in the video can the crow be heard, off-screen, calling back to Mark, connecting the distance between the two species and meeting the artist half-way.  Across a deep stretch of imagination I suspect that the crows, maybe, are considering the possibility of reacting to Mark.  The silence of animals creates loneliness, which is emphasized in the video by the artist’s definitive isolation from animal and human contact. - Lisa Visser (from Just Act Natural: A Curatorial Essay)