Birds of Inaccessible Island
In the southern Atlantic Ocean, at 1,553 Nautical Miles from South Africa and 2,052 Nautical Miles from the coast of Uruguay, lies the Inaccessible Island, whose name reflects its geographic remoteness.
Since 1816, the island has been under the rule of the British government. Originally named Night Glass Island, the high cliffs surrounding the island–which leave no open space for approach by sea–eventually earned it the title “Inaccessible”. Inaccessible Island has witnessed a number of expeditions, adventures, and shipwrecks in the years since its discovery. But it has never permitted any human inhabitants.
In 1962, scientists from the Royal Society Expedition approached Inaccessible Island with the objective of mapping it. Unable to get to the interior of the island, they tried to draw its perimeter from their ship but the difficult weather conditions defeated their attempt.
Twenty years later, students from a British university succeeded in conducting the first modest survey of the species from Inaccessible. Their biggest discovery was the Inaccessible Rail (Atlantisia rogersi), which is not found anywhere else in the world. Although abundant within its native habitat, the Inaccessible Rail is classified as a vulnerable species, at constant risk from chance events, such as the accidental introduction of an invasive predator species.
The Inaccessible Island: colonized but never inhabited, authoritatively named but unofficially titled. Its location, its form, and its conditions have resisted being fully discovered and totally comprehended. It is as real as any other landmass on this planet, yet it has escaped the barriers of reality and embraced the freedom that imagination can offer to any given island, or any given being.
This is a collection and classification of the birds of Inaccessible Island. All of the birds are fictional, except one: the Inaccessible Rail, whose own existence is almost unbelievable.
In history, the acts of naming and taxonomizing are intertwined with the practices of power and colonization. Today, these colonization practices have been normalized in the naming codes that we use to set limits among the social territories that we inhabit–race, culture, gender, geography, nature–. A path of linguistic deviation that questions those codes through the translation of meanings is a means of resistance to the hegemonic duality that divides the world between the good and the bad. Such deviation is possible through the action of imagining alternative truths.