Sculpture

Amy McCarthy

This washing machine is as dead as a Do Do!
When the washing machine died, apparently cheaper to replace than to repair, I brought a new one. The decaying, dead machine hung around in the back garden, waiting to be recycled. There it stood, looking at me doing the dishes listening to radio feature on how we no longer repair things. Washing machines have a life of 5-6 years now, mostly because they are not designed to be repaired, rivets replace screws and motor and filter units are sealed.
These birds act as totems, to remind us of the dead and the perverse nature of the human condition - as wasteful now as it ever has been. Do Do
The first recorded mention of the dodo was by Dutch sailors in 1598, at which time it was a wide spread bird in Mauritius and surrounding Islands. In the following years, the bird was hunted by sailors, their domesticated animals, and invasive species introduced during that time. The last widely accepted sighting of a dodo was in 1662. Its extinction was not immediately noticed, and some considered it to be a mythical creature. Alice in Wonderland has kept the myth of the Do Do alive and it has become a symbol of the negative impact humans have had on other living creatures in the world we share.

       

  

 

Great Auk
An important bird to Native Americans as a food source and a member of the penguin family this bird was once widespread around the North Atlantic. When the last colony was discovered in 1835, on the island of Eldey (near Iceland) nearly fifty birds were counted. Museums, desiring the skins of the auk for preservation and display, quickly began collecting birds from the colony. The last pair, found incubating an egg, were killed there in July 1844, with Jon Brandsson and Sigurour Isleifsson strangling the adults and Ketill Ketilsson accidentally cracking the last egg of the species with his boot during the struggle.

       
 

Choiseul Pigeon - Solomon Islands Crested Pigeon
Although inhabited for thousands of years by 1893 Britain had claimed protectorate of the Islands and settled into colonial life there. 11 years later in 1904 Albert Stewart Meek (who worked for the Natural History Museum and as a feather dealer) collected the 6 birds he found and all the eggs he could. This was the last confirmed sighting of what had been an endemic bird in the 1850s.
The bird was wiped out so quickly that the habits of the bird and even how it held its crest of beautiful feathers is unknown. Feral cats introduced to the Island by colonisers are thought to have been the bird's demise as there were previously no carnivorous animals on the Solomon Islands