COAL is a partner in the evening screening of Birds of America, a documentary film by Jacques Loeuille, winner of the 2018 COAL Award. The film traces the journey of the 19th century naturalist Jean-Jacques Audubon, who went to paint all the birds of the New World.

In the presence of director Jacques Loeuille, winner of the 2018 COAL Prize, producer Ariane Métais, Philippe de Grissac, Vice President of LPO France and Lauranne Germond and Joan Pronnier of COAL.

+ More info on murs-audubon.org

The film tells a political counter-history of the United States through the extinct birds in the work of French naturalist and father of American ecology, Jean-Jacques Audubon.

Synopsis: At the beginning of the 19th century, a French painter, Jean-Jacques Audubon, travels through Louisiana to paint all the birds of the New World. The discovery of the great wilderness encourages the utopia of a young nation that projects itself into a world of incredible beauty. Since then, the American dream has been damaged and Audubon’s work forms an archive of the pre-industrial sky. On the banks of the Mississippi, Birds of America finds the traces of these birds, now extinct, and reveals another story of the national myth.

Produced by Météores Films and ARTE Cinéma, the feature film project received the Louis Lumière Prize from the French Institute, as well as the support of the Centra National des Arts Plastiques (Image / Mouvement fund), and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It is distributed by KMBO. Jacques Loeuille was the winner of the 2018 COAL Award.

I discovered Audubon while studying at the Fine Arts School in Nantes; the city where he grew up and drew his first birds on the banks of the Loire, before embarking for the United States to escape the Napoleonic wars. If his work remained a scientific reference for a long time, it is today a pure aesthetic object, but also a documentary treasure, since many painted creatures have disappeared. ” – Jacques Loeuille

What is particularly poignant, in our era of fake news and manipulation of scientific information, is that the disappeared birds are also the subject of a whole production of images, of falsified or imaginary accounts: false testimonies, confusion of species, but also photo-montages and optical tricks. This aesthetic of “fake” through these faked or erroneous images of “bird watcher” will be present in the installation and will dialogue with the paintings of Audubon. It is an astonishing contrast, that the extreme precision and “high definition” of Audubon’s images, while current images of birds are so poor, so low definition, in comparison. Should we see it as a vanity of technique and technology? ” – Jacques Loeuille

To compensate for these disappearances, the oil companies invested, at the time of the reconstruction of the city of New Orleans after Katrina, in a mega-zoo and aquarium: Audubon zoo and Audubon aquarium of the America .

The figure of Audubon has now become a valuable symbol for anyone who wants to “green” their own image at a low cost. Audubon Zoo recreates the “natural settings” of the “Birds of America” plates where one can observe – among other things – a turtle-dove jumping from one plastic branch to another; the bird lives this existence in a very shallow glass cage whose surface corresponds to Audubon’s drawing sheet: a double elephant folio, that is to say 98 by 76 centimeters! Further on, in the Audubon Aquarium of America, we can observe a strange scene: sharks circulate between the underwater frames of fake oil platforms. The sponsors of this place, dedicated to children’s education, are BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil. ” – Jacques Loeuille

The city of New York decided to take an artistic action to raise awareness of the current ravages of Washington’s environmental policy by commissioning artist Nicolas Holiber to create a series of sculptures inspired by endangered Audubon birds. I met him in his large studio in Brooklyn, where he carves these birds by assembling pieces of wood. In April 2019, twelve sculptures depicting endangered birds will be installed along Broadway from the heart of the city in front of Lincoln Center at 67th Street to the Audubon Parc Historic District in Washington Heights at 168th Street. They will remain there until the winter of 2020. The lack of treatment of the reclaimed wood will put the sculptures to a severe test; the process of degradation by the climate is an integral part of the work. ” – Jacques Loeuille

Photos from the film Birds of America by Jacques Loeuille


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  • About us
    About us

    COAL mobilizes artists and cultural actors on societal and environmental issues and accompanies the emergence of a new culture of ecology through its actions such as the COAL Prize, curating exhibitions, advising institutions and communities, European cooperation, and the animation of conferences, workshops and the first dedicated website Ressource0.com


    COAL has been awarding the COAL Prize Art and Environment every year since 2010 and the COAL Student Prize - Culture & Diversity since 2020.

  • Projects

    Major projects linked to the major events in political ecology, in connection with natural or urban environments.

  • Artistic direction
    Artistic direction

    About fifty exhibitions throughout France, cultural actions, works in the public space, and project support to contribute to the emergence of a new culture of ecology.


    Cooperation programs on a European and international scale, support for institutions in their ecological transition through tailor-made accompaniment and training, promotion of arts and ecology issues through publications and numerous conferences and workshops.