Project Passenger Pigeon

Lessons from the Past for a Sustainable Future

Ann-StefiSteffi Domike (left) and Ann Rosenthal with one element of their project American Roots.



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Ann Rosenthal and Steffi Domike

Moving Targets is a collaborative art project created by Ann T. Rosenthal and Steffi Domike that will link our shared cultural heritage and family migrations to the story of the American passenger pigeon, casting the long-extinct fowl as a shared "non-human relation."

The origins of our mothers’ families from their homelands in the Ukraine illustrate a migration forced upon a culture that was deemed suspect and threatening. The demise of the passenger pigeon was the result of human ignorance and greed, a parallel story writ in nature. This treatment of both Jews and passenger pigeons exposes the inhumanity inherent in the contrived separation of “nature” and “culture,” which has excused the abuse of the waters, lands, and non-human life of this planet. Just as groups of people have been objectified throughout human history, justifying their targeted extermination, so too has the natural world been reduced to raw material for human culture, the excesses resulting in what is now termed the “Sixth Extinction.”

Motivated by a shared commitment to social and environmental justice, this new work reflects the Jewish cultural tradition of “Tikkun Olam,” meaning “repair of the world.” Artists have a critical role in society—to image connections, relationships, and patterns, and reconnect what has been fragmented. Moving Targets will reenact the migrations of the passenger pigeons and our forebears by visiting key stopovers along the North American flyway, followed by travels to the Ukraine, where our common heritage begins.

Sifting through the resulting photographs and documentation, we will develop an art installation that visually maps the intersections between the migration of our families and that of the passenger pigeon. “Moving Targets” is a work in progress. If you would like to assist the artists and/or learn more about the project, let us hear from you.

Contact Steffi and Ann at: or 412-688-0417.

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