In the 1960's and 70's in Raleigh a peanut vendor on Fayetteville Street was called the Pigeon Man. While he would sell peanuts to people for a small price, he would offer them to street pigeons free of charge. At times there were hundreds or even thousands of pigeons benefiting from his generosity and the generosity of those who followed his example. In the mid-seventies there was a crack down on
pigeon feeding in Raleigh, and soon the pigeon man was gone, as well as many of his feathered companions. Today there is hardly a pigeon to be seen downtown.
Get Fancy or Get Out examines the sometimes arbitrary choices we make between animals, and how those choices reflect our own lives. Fancy pigeon breeds, though genetically identical to street pigeons, are cared for as prized possessions by those who own them. Street pigeons are pests and pariahs. Fancy pigeons are specialized, often to the point that they can't survive without the intervention of their breeders. Street pigeons, if given a chance, can survive in almost any environment and have spread across the world with their human counterparts.
As communities become more specialized; more white collar, they lose much of what made them interesting, vibrant and strong places to live. Without truly understanding what we are losing, how can we decide what to become?