In Alfred Hitchcock’s film The Birds, there is a scene where a character called Melanie notices, on the metal bars of the school playground, just one or two crows, then a few more, then a few more.
How to think about the current situation through the frame of Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’? In that film, a malevolent, migratory, air-borne force presents a lethal threat to human society. Critics have argued constantly about what the birds actually representor stand for (nature? fascism? hysteria? or perhaps technology?).
If you look up you will notice artificial crows on a balcony, which serve a similar role to antibodies: in simulating the form of a bird, they keep real birds at bay. They also demarcate a boundary between inside and outside, nature and culture. They’re cheap, tacky and plastic, and there’s little evidence that they actually work. Just as in the opening seconds of the playground scene, the artists have only placed four or five crows on their balcony — but if one looks around the street’s — and city’s — other balconies, one will start to notice many, many more, silently massing.