Jeremy Deller (b. 1966, London; lives London) has developed a
unique artistic practice as instigator, curator and producer,
giving prominence to cultural communities generally ignored in
mainstream cultural consumption. Among his best known projects are
Acid Brass (from 1997), fusing the musical genres and
cultural traditions of brass band and techno music, and The
Battle of Orgreave (2001), a filmed re-enactment of the 1984
battle between miners and police. Deller has produced works
involving animals, notably Memory Bucket (2003) which
brought together the Waco massacre, George W. Bush and a colony of
bats in flight, and the Bat House Project (from 2006), an
architectural competition to design a home for bats in
Deller focused while in the Galápagos in late 2010 on the cultural conventions imported to the Islands by its inhabitants. He chose not to engage specifically with the scientific community, rather spending time with the people of Puerto Ayora, respectfully observing the ways they organise their lives. He was particularly drawn to the profusion of churches and religious denominations, noting their espousal of creationism in a place so closely associated with Darwin.
Deller produced a record of cock-fighting, which occurred weekly in a breeze-block structure in scrubland near the power station on Santa Cruz Island.1 It is, predominantly, a popular social event: families are present, money changes hands, there are noisy scenes both of people interacting and cocks battling. Deller dwells on the rituals of the occasion including the fitting of spurs on the birds. Underlying the presentation, never overtly stated, is the tension - Deller has used the word 'blasphemy' - of witnessing cock-fighting in a place where visitors are more accustomed to blue-footed boobies' mating dances.
In May 2011, the year after Jeremy Deller visited the Galápagos Islands, cock-fighting was outlawed in Ecuador by a referendum.