In 1936 an ornithologist named James Bond published Birds of the West Indies. Ian Fleming, the well-known spy novel author, appropriated the name as he found it “flat and colorless,” perfect for the “anonymous [character…who was] a blunt instrument in the hands of the government.”
Seeking to align Bond the ornithologist with Bond the secret agent, Taryn Simon incorporates the ornithologist’s method of taxonomy to create this two-part body of work. First she recorded an inventory of the women, weaponry and cars of the Bond films. Revealing the theme of interchangeability ever-prevelant in the Bond films, Simon exploits the idea of substitution and repetition the series relies on to construct its era of fantasy. Second, Simon plays the role of ornithologist, watching, re-watching, recording and classifying all the birds that appear within the 24 James Bond films. Categorized by location the birds become a map of the mythical settings of Bond’s missions.
Impressive in its thoroughness the show is worth a visit before its closing on April 12.