colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale
colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale
aug 29, 2012

colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale

‘some pigeons are more equal than others’ by julian charriere + julius von bismarck



accents of colored pigeons permeate swarms of grey as part of the project ‘some pigeons are more equal than others’ by berlin-based artists julian charriere and julius von bismarck during the 2012 venice biennale. the duo have collaborated to dye the birds in an effort to change people’s perception of them being considered the ‘rats of the sky’. without harming the feathered critters, charriere and bismarck spray-painted them with a specially created booth,  where they believe the creatures will become less offensive, and in turn, more accepted by those traveling the venetian piazzas.



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale the project is in an effort to change people’s perception of the birds being considered the ‘rats of the sky’



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale the pigeons accent st. mark’s square in venice



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



colorful pigeons amongst a flock of grey at the venice biennale



  • Like hair plugs, face lifts and girdles for politicians, a rat in disguise is still a rat ..speaking or flying. Both will s___ on you.

    jim C. says:
  • Déguisement de péruches pour pigeons 😉 Bon ça!

    Geo says:
  • so bad on so many levels.

    all i hear is this: no body knows who we are so we are going to exploit animals in a famous place and make people pay attention to us.

    ugh says:
  • I’m digging the red pigeon.

    pushstick says:
  • What would Italy’s plaza be w/o Pigeons? I love these remarkable birds…and this is a wonderful project.

    urban_woodswalker says:
  • So wrong, how would you like it if someone dyed you against your will?

    wah says:
  • There is something wrong in man that disregards wildlife as rats (pigeons, deer, geese, shelter animals, opossum, ect.) yet we are the ones ruining the enviorns.
    Developers love to demonize animals so they can build everywhere with the “rats” removal, mentality. Accept our other creatures.
    The colours are nice. They animals are nice in grey as well.

    artclick says:
  • I’d love to see a follow up by someone with died rodents

    dbkii says:
  • PETA will have a field day. All publicity is good publicity, I suppose.

    ha says:
  • AWESOME!!!!

    jt says:
  • pigeons are already beautiful beings, and if they were in these colours naturally, it would be like urban butterflies!!


    mara says:
  • How can this be alowed! Its so irrespectful to these poor animals.

    Adriana says:
  • amazing been to vencie and hated the pigions but now love them thats a toatally cool idea!!!

    millie swan says:
  • wow wow wow thats awsom these feather friends defintely needed a makeover!!!!

    dean simons says:
  • wonderful!

    mini says:
  • i love the blue one and the purple one toatally awsome!

    sam says:
  • Great project! For those who think it’s disrespectful, it isn’t at all: 1. the majority of all animals aren’t self conscious, so they won’t react like we’d expect ourselves to react…2. the pigeons will eventually change their feathers, meaning the dye is only temporary. If anything, for whoever’s in venice, just enjoy them while you still can!

    DBZ says:
  • This a great idea. Pigeons are cool anyways. Great job

    Chad G. says:
  • Pigeons see in ultra violet, so to them they look similar to this projects out come from the start. It is only humans who see them in grey.
    I do hope they have some plan to remove the paint after the biennale, otherwise they will never get a mate.
    To their own kind they will grey.

    Tweetie says:
  • BAD, if bird can say no they will!

    dd says:
  • what was the outcome of this project? the poor birds seem tortured in the photo shoot. STRONGLY DISLIKE ! i hope a PETA person takes this up!

    mrinalini says:
  • I wonder ho much this will fuck-up the pigeons natural life cycle.

    ABee says:
  • Wow, great idea, let´s turn some pigeons in to huge targets for other birds of prey! Yay, now the pigeon can´t blend in with the enviroment *pigeon blinks the eye and shows the thumb up* \”thanks man, you turned me in to a fugitive and the other pigeons think I´m gay!\”

    What? says:
  • i think they should now do it on the stray cats that r around vencie becasue ive been and the totally freak me out!!!!!

    daisy cuppor says:
  • no way thats crule to cats u mean person!

    bill says:
  • Hope the dye will naturally and rapidly wash-off in the rain…so they can go back to being themselves. Looks pretty to me but for the pidgeons: this new look could mean problems. Being shunned by their fellows as well as attracting predators.

    di says:
  • i saw a purple pigeon in venice the other day and thought it was a humorous act of vandalism. then i went on design boom and coincidentally there was this article! it all makes sense now. FYI the pigeon was dead

    just kidding, it was alive and kickin

    crclTatu says:
  • also, these pigeons must have been specially selected or raised in captivity, because none except for maybe ONE have bad feet. it’s very common for them to get pigeon foot disease and none of these do…unless venetian pigeons are just high class like that

    crclTatu says:
  • homeless next?

    skull duggery says:
  • this is rediculus!!!! First off Pigons are not Rats ! ! ! ! who ever thinks that is an IDIOT !!!! Second birds are not an animal one suld be changing colors on even if the product used is safe, what if it gets in their eyes or nose while spraying it on. Pigons are beutiful the way they are, Do Not Go Chaning That!

    JLT says:
  • Colour yourself “artist”! Does anybody thought about these birds and their natural instincts? Birds have specific colours for some reasons… soo stupid and selfish, shame on you Venice, lust for fame prevailed over reason.

    LK says:
  • @JLT From your comment I can read that you have no idea what the pigeons can do to buildings. They are considered a plague in many cities. If some harmless paint can affect the birthrate I think we will see more colored pigeons appearing soon. It will be cheaper then let’s say changing eggs for egg-shaped stones as tried before.

    Airborne says:
  • very bad action. I hate this

    lolo says:
  • Anybody around here ever read Jerzy Kosiński\’s \”The Painted Bird\” (Der Gemalte Vogel)? A must read, that will add a somewhat new angle of analysis to this project.
    [url= [/url]

    SzZs says:
  • They look beautiful but surely this must have caused distress to the birds. I’d like to see a video of them spraying them. It doesn’t sit right with me.

    Cynical says:
  • I’m sure hawks just love these easy to spot tasty little (poisonous) guys

    pnut says:
  • who said anything about spraying them?! pretty sure they dunked them head first into hot urns of dye, achilles style haha.

    seriously, they’re just birds, and there’s many of them, and they have almost no benefit to the city other than eating small scraps of food off the ground and creating whirlwinds when kids run through them. lighten up. I really doubt a website would publish straight up animal cruelty…that’s just illogical. if it crosses your moral line then go sit under a rainbow and write a poem or something. or better yet, buy some pigeons and have them in your house. it’s the same battle with prairie dogs in my town. animal rights activists want to preserve the plague-carrying little F-ers, while they are digging holes in fields so kids and cattle can fall through the weak ground and break their legs.

    Xst says:
  • they look like sick birds after a chemical invasion.

    john newton says:
  • I believe that these birds are beautiful naturally as well as sprayed painted… But it makes me wonder what unfortunate animal/s had to be tested on in order to ensure that the dye was safe for the pigeons. Also it concerns me that these birds could potentially be at an advantage or disadvantage…. They may attract more attention from people as a result potentially getting fed more… Which can be good or bad. But that then leaves the grey pigeons at a disadvantage for scrounging for food. Or it could go another way and they may have a more difficult time searching for their own food because they are not their natural colors and may be more easily spotted by their prey…. or even attacked by their own kind for looking differently. Like I said they do look beautiful but there are plenty enough beautiful birds in the world that there is not a need to spray paint them. It is not natural and not right. It is illegal to dye dogs and cats different colors and should not be allowed on animals we don\’t even own. If this is permitted what\’s going to stop people from coming to LBI and dying the seagulls also called sea rats by many local and tourist…which will only lead to more and more. People are not going to like something any better because it\’s colored… If its annoying to someone it most likely will continue to be annoying.

    Ann says:
  • that’s cool

    jackarg says:
  • What was the conclusion of the experiment? Did people like them more or just the same?
    How did it affect the mating season?Where males and females painted?
    Would not like to be there if it rained!Would the dye drip on people or splash as they move their wings?

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • this is AWESOME)))

    crows says:
  • pigeon

    the other white meat

    meagain says:
  • I was excited about the project- thinking it would illuminate the natural colors of pigeons (so many, so varied). But, I see artifical color applied. And, I wonder what kind of mind would do that? Plus, I agree with “no body knows who we are so we are going to exploit animals in a famous place and make people pay attention to us”

    Birdie says:
  • Andy Warhol living birds.

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • Andy Warhol living birds.

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • This is such a horrible thing to do to a bird. It is cruel beyond words.

    Patricia says:
  • I agree with Ann . . . find another “art” project . . . the logic is so typically “human.” Where’s PETA?

    savannahjones says:

    Ignacio Salazar. says:
  • Nice photoshop

    Psd says:
  • will they have more or less sex now?

    onamor says:
  • poor ones

    z says:
  • do pigeons like this? i dont think so..

    zye says:
  • I wonder how this will affect their interaction with other pigeons? This is pointless and stupid.

    Sam says:
  • All the birds involved were fully consenting, they thought it at good method to highlight how ugly and stupid humans are.
    Hats off to them. A good point well made.

    ed says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

art news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
504,285 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample
designboom magazine