Artist Marcus Coates documents a community’s apology for the loss of the Great Auk bird

Apology to the Great Auk is a short film that documents an attempt by the community of Fogo Island to apologise for the loss of the now extinct bird, the Great Auk.

British artist Marcus Coates travelled to Fogo Island last summer to ask for an official apology to be given to the Great Auk, a flightless bird once numerous around the island, but extinct since 1844 due to excessive hunting.

Apology to the Great Auk documents a sincere attempt by the community of Fogo Island, through the specially appointed apology committee, to respond and learn from the loss of the Great Auk.

The short film is one of two films made by the artist which explore the interconnectedness between humans and other species, the human impact upon these species’ continued survival, and humans’ relationship to their own extinction. You can view the film here.

A second film, The Last of Its Kind, also filmed in Newfoundland, sees Marcus Coates imagining himself as the very last human. In the film he seeks to convince the landscape surrounding him of the significance of human progress.

Standing naked behind a rudimentary stone ruin on Fogo Island’s shoreline, the artist repeatedly calls out a list of human achievements to the iceberg-laden ocean with increasing desperation, bringing to light the plight humans face.

Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea


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