Taryn Simon

Birds of the West Indies

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Taryn Simon
Birds of the West Indies

Text(s) by Daniel Baumann u.a., graphic design by Joseph Logan, Taryn Simon


2013. 440 pp., 210 ills.


20.10 x 29.70 cm

ISBN 978-3-7757-3663-3

Using 007 as a case study, Taryn Simon considers the formulation of fantasy

In 1936, an ornithologist called James Bond released the definitive taxonomy of birds found in the Caribbean, titled Birds of the West Indies. Ian Fleming, an active bird watcher living in Jamaica, subsequently appropriated the name for his novel’s lead character. He found it to be perfectly “ordinary”, “brief”, “Anglo-Saxon” and “masculine”. This co-opting of names was the first replacement in a series of substitutions that would become central to the construction of the Bond narrative. In a meticulous and comprehensive dissection of the Bond films, artist Taryn Simon (*1975 in New York) inventoried women, weapons and vehicles in Bond. The contents of these categories function as essential accessories to the narrative’s myth of the seductive, powerful, and invincible western male. In Birds of the West Indies, Simon presents a visual database of interchangeable variables used in the production of fantasy, through which she examines the economic and emotional value generated by their repetition.

Exhibition schedule: 2013 Carnegie International, Pittsburgh October 5, 2013–March 16, 2014

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