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Pigeon Power: Fly By Night London – Duke Riley

Fly By Night London by American artist Duke Riley will begin tonight as part of 1418 Now, LIFT Festival and the Greenwich & Docklands International Festival.

Riley has created a breathtaking performance over the River Thames, with 1500 beautiful homing pigeons that he’s been training over three months. Each of the birds wears an LED on their ankle, where traditionally a message band would be. The pigeons are conducted by Duke in a collaborative performance that results in a stunning, luminous, aerial dance in the night sky.

The work is a celebration of the ancient relationship between pigeons and people – and is a total revelation in a city where the traditional pigeon-fancying communities are basically all gone, and many people just think of the birds as rats with wings! As part of 1418 Now it’s also an homage to those who participated in World War One, including the carrier pigeons who were crucial to the war’s outcome. The Thamesmead location, by Crossness Pumping Station, is also a nod to the particular importance of this part of London to the war effort and was selected after months of rigorous research with the Imperial War Museum.

The performances take place from the 21st-23rd June at 9.15pm at Crossness Pumping Station, Bazalgatte Way, SE2 9AQ. It’s a bit of a way, but the work is absolutely enthralling, so worth travelling for, and there are free shuttle buses to and from Abbey Wood Station.

The Crossness Pumping Station
Bazalgette Way