In the cold month of March, during an artistic residency on the north coast of Iceland, I witnessed a scene of hundreds of dead sea birds while walking on the beach. The snow melted that day enabling the birds to be seen. Their grotesque and shocking character made me understand that was a unique and ephemeral moment. I returned again to the beach the next few days searching for the most fascinating carcasses because I knew that soon or later they would be once again covered by the snow. This so exposed and fragile encounter allowed me to reflect on the past and the Anthropocene. In order to understand how our society relates to nature and, given the system in which we live, how we deal with the problem of our death and the other beings with whom we co-inhabit the planet.
For many centuries, human civilization sought in nature explanations for everyday issues, such as health, love and prosperity. Viewed as emissaries of omens, the birds would prevent calamities and deaths, and were believed to carry spirits from the dead. They were also associated with longevity, fertility and life. Today, the Albatross, for example, is a bird attracted by deep sea fishing, which ends up entangled in ropes and nets. Due to the rampant consumption of seafood, hundreds of thousands of seabirds are injured or killed in fishing equipment every year.