I had zebra finches growing up, and while they were sweet little birds, they had two major drawbacks—the after-hours chirping, and all the pooping. The chirping you could remedy with a towel over the cage. Regardless of the hour, any light on and they were under the impression they had to greet the morning dawn, but darken the cage and they’d shut up. There was no remedy to the pooping however, so you simply accepted that when you took them out to play, sometimes you were going to get bird shit on you, a small price to pay to have them cheerfully hop up and down your arm.
Artist Fabrizio Lamoncha has managed to actually utilize the talents of the zebra finch, with his Poo Printer, an enclosure with letter-shaped perches that encourage the finches to shit a sort of crude calligraphy. In Lamoncha’s own words:
A group of male zebra finches underwent this experiment with rigorous commitment. The author/captor, taking the role of some kind of 1984´s Big brother, is providing the implementation guidelines for the transformation of this countercultural attitude into a marketable artsy product. The observation of this group of non-breeding birds in captivity and the experimentation with induced behaviors has been rigorously documented for this task. This project researches in a hybrid, artistic and scientific framework the physiological, mechanical and social dynamics of birds under captivity in a simulated factory-chain environment.
The result is the Poo Printer, an analog generative typography printer using the bird-poo as the particle substance in order to slowly generate the Latin alphabet characters over a large paper roll.
A time-lapse video of the Poo Printer in action, after the jump…