Beckett Walk II — GANNETS

video work


procedure and the video

On a boat trip around the island of Noss, I filmed with the i-Phone the flying gannets. Thousands of gannets breed on the steep cliff walls of Noss. Lying on my back in the small boat I filmed against the sky, holding the camera more or less always in the same direction. In the film the gannets fly in and out of the picture frame and appear more than birds.

the 'Gannets' crossing theme lines

The 'northern gannet' is the largest seabird in the North Atlantic. Gannets' have a wingspan of up to 2 metres. They are spectacular fish hunters: they can shoot down from heights of up to 40 m into the water, with a speed of up to 100 km/h, like a supersonic jet and dive up to 20 metres deep. Their body is uniquely adapted for this: they have pockets filled with air in their skull and chest, which absorb the shock of diving into the water.

In the past, young gannets were used as an important food source in winter. This tradition is still practiced in Ness, Scotland, where it is called 'Guga': The dolt chicks are killed and salted. This hunting tradition goes back at least to the Iron Age. The modern hunt of dolt chicks leads again and again to large controversies whether it should be further excluded from the normal protection of sea birds in accordance with British and European Union legislation. Hunting is limited in number and considered sustainable.

The 'Gannets' are a growing population. On the other hand, today more and more birds are being found caught in nets and in danger of diying that way. Biologists, ornithologists and photographers are also increasingly observing that birds build their nests with plastic elements. The stomach contents of many of the dead birds studied show a considerable amount of plastic in some cases.