stable at ambient temperatures – the museum specimen

A Zoology Museum specimen acted as point of departure for work in 2008.

This bird skin represents the species Hirundo rustica in the Hunterian Zoology Museum in Glasgow. This specimen’s history is’unknown’ – its place and date of death were not recorded.

Barn Swallows are international citizens – probably originating in Africa and learning through evolution to move north to make use of summer insects. Swallows from Britain fly to South Africa over the northern winter. In November 2007, this Hunterian specimen took flight to Cape Town in the hold of a Boeing 747.

Groundwork included checking that this flight did not contravene import and export regulations.

Work for A Biography of a Lie (2002, see archive) anticipated this journey. The image below is of travelling mantle for a swallow, made from cat-hair, fly-fishing wool, lead weight, fishing fly.