Urban Bestiary

A Compendium of Synanthropic Beasts

A bestiary is a medieval treatise which assembles religious, mythological, and scientific information to depict the animal world as it was known in the Middle Ages. These illuminated manuscripts were tools of morality, designed to instruct the populous through allegorical narratives and imagery of real and fictitious animals. The representations merged cultural perceptions with limited scientific knowledge to create mythological portraits of non-human creatures. Through these allegorical elaboration of animals, humans came to understand themselves, their virtues and transgressions.

Urban Bestiary: A Compendium of Synanthropic Beasts builds upon a growing understanding of our non-human urban cohabitants and the metropolitan environments we share. It revisits the model of the medieval bestiary and chronicles animals as cultural symbol and biological subject to create a complex portrait of several synanthropic species and their respective urban habitats. This process of analysis reveals not only the spatial, cultural, and biological functions of each species, but becomes a reflection of ourselves, and how we live collectively in our urban ecosystem.

Feral Pigeon Columbia livia domestica

Spatial Parameters of a Feral Pigeon

Umwelt of a Feral Pigeon

Brown Rat
Rattus norvegicus

Spatial Parameters of a Brown Rat

Umwelt of a Brown Rat