The Farallon Islands in the Pacific Ocean are often called “California’s Galapagos” and are home to one of the world’s largest colonies of nesting seabirds. It’s hard to imagine a better setting for Lukas Felzmann’s latest book. But the photographer is not interested here (only) in migratory birds, as in his previous book, Swarm (2011). He also looks at what the birds bring here from afar: swallowed objects the gulls carry in their stomachs from the coast to the island, only to then finally gather these treasures together in their nests on the Farallon Islands. Images of these magical objects, the “gull juju,” are joined by finely observed photographs of the research work carried out by scientists on the islands. Felzmann discovered during his stay that scientific work is imbued with its own kind of magic: in addition to uncovering similarities and differences between photographic and scientific documentation, he happened upon the scientists’ dream diaries. The book thus presents an archive of both visual and linguistic findings, in the process grappling with questions of transience, sustainability, and the co-existence of human and animal.
Lukas Felzmann is an artist and educator. He was born and grew up in Zürich, Switzerland but has been living and working in San Francisco since 1981. His work and installations contain sculptural aspects although the base of all works is photographic. Current themes include our relationship to the landscape, and how we internalize and attempt to control the natural (Waters in Between). Further themes are an investigations into the workings of systems, how there might be control without hierarchy (Swarm), and the degradation of the environment through plastic and other materials (Gull Juju).
Lars Müller Publishers is an internationally active publishing house based in Zurich, Switzerland. Founded in 1983, the press has made a worldwide name for itself with its carefully edited and designed publications on architecture, design, photography, contemporary art and society.