Friday, August 26, 2011

more paper bat photos

A few pictures of my paper hibernaculum under construction.

And a close-up of some shapes that have captured interesting images:

These bats were made from a falling-apart edition of Rev. John George Wood's The Uncivilized Races, or, a Natural History of Man, a mid-19th century tome about indigenous peoples around the world. It almost deserves its own post, but I'll describe it briefly here. It has pretty much everything you'd expect of a book its age - very period descriptions of the customs, clothing, diets, etc. of a range of populations from the West Indies to Africa to Mongolia. The book is pretty much entirely comprised of descriptions, based on his own travels and also accounts from other Europeans, without any kind of hard scientific content. In some ways it reads much more like a travelogue than what I would consider a scientific text. Surprisingly it's a bit less patronizing and "OOOH look at the natives" gawky than I expected it might be, but obviously, the offensive title of the book and the mere fact that these people are basically being observed as anthropological studies of "lesser" humans says a lot about how some Europeans used to look at the world. (Namely, in a very Euro-centric way.) Many of the illustrations of objects such as pottery, helmets, and weapons are labeled as being from the author's personal collection, which certainly enforces the idea of the subjects of the book as scientific curiosities. 
I have other books I'll be using as well - books about the native trees of Canada, scientific journals, and an introductory text to Forestry (I hadn't realized this, but forestry is much more about how to manage forests for the economic benefit of humans and much less about how to manage forests as a habitat for wildlife). More photos as the installation progresses.


  1. Hi, Maria. My name is Vickie and we met the other day at Chris and Kristen's wedding and I just stopped into today to see your work. I have enjoyed seeing your bats in all their forms, and your newest installation looks like it will be very cool.

    Have you ever seen the work of Holly Ward Bimba? She seems like a kindred spirit:

  2. Hi Vickie! I do remember meeting you and I'm happy to see you've got some of your work up too.
    I've never seen Holly's work before but I really like it. Thank you for sharing it with me!