To companion a companion is a playful exhibition of new work by Argentinean-Australian artist Fernando do Campo that proposes humans as the companion species to birds.
Originally coined by theorist Donna Haraway, the term a ‘companion species’ describes two species that have evolved in tandem.
Humans have long co-habited with companion species. While many are indigenous to their environment, others have been introduced into new landscapes. These introductions form part of a wider colonialist and nationalist projects and carry complex contradictions. Today, these animals exist around us but often escape unnoticed, forming part of a sonic landscape that speaks to histories not long out of reach.
To companion a companion is a humorous, often cheeky, ode to the companion species that flit amongst us. Building on do Campo’s ongoing research into human-bird relationships, the exhibition focuses on the unique histories carried by the house sparrow (Passer domesticus) and laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) in Western Australia, as told through painting, video, installation, and performance.
To companion a companion at PICA is the third and final iteration of the exhibition previously presented at Contemporary Art Tasmania (CAT), Hobart and UNSW Galleries, Sydney.
The exhibition is accompanied by The Companion Companion Reader, a website featuring texts by contributors from multiple disciplines that expand on notions of interspecies companioning. www.companioncompanionreader.com
A selection of works in To companion a companion were available to purchase at Salon Vernissage 2022.