Thursday, 24 August 2017

Looking from the view point of a peregrine feeding

Working through the ideas of what's important to a Peregrine, building on the notions of life and death, a regular view that the Peregrine must have is that of after a kill.

They must constantly be on alert for other predators and scavengers such as crows or other larger eagles whenever they have successfully killed. Equally much of their time would be spent potentially looking down at their feet, their talons puncturing the flesh of their prey and selecting a mouthful of feathers to pluck out from the dying sparrow, Starling or Swallow that they have just knocked out of the sky.

Playing around with ideas of representation led to a few sketches that were purely taken from the imagination.

The speculative rendering is clearly an assumption, it may be that further rendering would be useful, particularly with layers of perspective and acuity with near and far objects, together with a visual sensation of keeping the field of view open for other threats to the Peregrine as already mentioned.


  • This idea of a wider field of view with multiple levels of acuity is starting to take hold in my mind and I'm thinking about how I could render such drawings.

  • Clearly this would be something for me to pursue after the submission of my practical work and portfolio next Friday, and I need to start to think carefully as to how I can also incorporate this in the critical reflective summary.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

How can we try to know what we don't know?

Spending a little bit more time at our cottage in Northumberland recently, I started chatting to a local man who was a fisherman. During our conversation, he told me about his and his wife's affection for a semi-tame partridge that spent much of its time in their garden, and consequently, from time to time they fed the bird. They had called it Freddie, and he talked in warm terms as though it was almost a surrogate offspring. He and his wife felt it abhorrent that these cute birds, together with pheasants, were bred by the local hunting estate that he lived within, just to be shot for sport over the next year.

This seemed to me to be rather a conundrum which I pondered upon for quite some time. As a freshwater fisherman, he prided himself on his prowess to catch trout and salmon, and then probably kill them to eat later after frying them or oven baking them.

-What is the difference between fishing and game bird shooting I might have asked him?-But my manners and circumspection precluded me from asking such an ill judged antagonism...

I conclude, and this seems to meet with the ideas of John Berger and others such as Donna Haraway, that humans assume that it is acceptable to kill animals when they cannot personify, or relate in some way with their prey, or food that is hunted. Berger wrote of this in "Why look at animals" (1977), but in a slightly different way. He spoke of the peasant farmer who loved his pig and looks forward to salting [and probably eating] it. The operative word in the sentence is "and". Humans have lost their binding of both respect and necessity to kill and eat. The killing is done elsewhere or by somebody else. Any creature to be killed is, therefore "marginalised" as Berger puts it in his observations of zoo animals.

Likewise I think of the predicament of the Peregrine in that he/or she has to hunt in order to live. In fact, death requires life and necessarily life requires death and the cycle is a continuous one throughout nature. There are no rules to nature is Nietzsche pointed out almost a hundred years or so before John Berger's writings.

Whilst thinking about this strange conundrum that humankind put themselves into, I imagined myself looking down on a line of rocks that appear as an outcrop in the distance, and quickly sketched a detached view.

In thinking about my sketch, the detached observation in itself is a metaphor for thinking about the human condition in so many ways.