A Cautionary Tale


“A Cautionary Tale” is a narrative about conflict, blame, compassion, and the idea of truth.  The images tell a story of two groups, humans and magpies, who live together in relative harmony.  One day a magpie decides to steal a lantern, the most precious object to the humans, their source of heat and light in the night.  This sets off a chain of events that pits humans against magpie where the choice of one reflects on the whole. I am interested in the idea of blame, who gets to assign it, who has to live with it, and the question of how can we get past it.

In “The Suspect” a person is interrogating a magpie, measuring its wings, subjecting it to unwarranted harassment and shame.  Is this the right bird?  Does it matter if it is?

In “Keep Them in the Dark” the image is void of magpies.  Instead it deals with the power that blame has and the control it commands.  The lantern is found, but instead of acknowledging its return, a person decides to destroy it to the objection of its owner.  Its is better to keep people in the dark and continue to have someone to blame for their problems.

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