Passenger (shown here with Eight Voices and Peel’s Foe) is a sixteen foot-long wooden train trestle built to support an “O” scale train. A modified locomotive runs endlessly back and forth along the length of the track and casts a shadow on the wall and inside the trestle. Viewers, looking through either end of the trestle, can observe the opposing viewer’s eyes, as the shadow moves back and forth.
A number of factors contributed to the quick decline, from the destruction of habitat to the expansion of the railroad and the development of the telegraph. The pigeon was a plentiful and inexpensive source of protein, the telegraph enabled hunters to be apprised of the location of pigeons, and the expansion of the railroad extended the distance from population centers that pigeons could be shot and shipped to help feed the burgeoning populations of Midwestern and Eastern cities.
John James Audubon wrote in 1813 about a flight of pigeons that darkened the sky for three days; more common were clouds of birds that cast deep shadows for hours at a time over the eastern half of Canada and the United States. The running shadow inside the trestle thus inverts a major visual trope of their presence into a marker of their absence.