Pigeon d'Or (2010) is a work by Tuur van Baalen.
Pigeon d'Or proposes the use of feral pigeons as a platform and interface for synthetic biology in an urban environment by attempting to make a pigeon defecate soap.
Tuur Van Balen uses design to explore the political implications of emerging technologies by constructing thought-provoking new realities. Pigeon d’Or proposes the use of feral pigeons as a platform and interface for synthetic biology in urban environments by attempting to make pigeons defecate soap. Through the modification of pigeons’ metabolism, synthetic biology allows us to add new functionality to these animals that are commonly seen as 'flying rats'. A special bacteria has been designed and created that is as harmless to pigeons as yoghurt is to humans and, when fed to them, turns their feces into detergent. Through the manipulation of pigeon excrement and the design of appropriate architectural interfaces, the project explores the ethical, political, practical and aesthetic consequences of designing biology. The city can be seen as a vast, incredibly complex metabolism of which the human species is only the tiniest fraction, tiny and yet inextricably linked into an organic embroidery beyond our understanding. Future biotechnologies will end up as part of this complex fabric.