Home|Artworks|A Cast of Falcons, 2008
A Cast of Falcons, 2008

A Cast of Falcons, 2008
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Diana Thater’s A Cast of Falcons examines the ancient practice of falconry. Originating in the Middle East and Central Asia, hunting with trained birds of prey thrived in the medieval courts of Western Europe, bringing immense cultural and social value with it. While falconry is no longer a symbol of social and political authority, a small but committed number of individuals continue to practice it. Alluding to the Egyptian falcon-headed deity Horus, whose eyes were thought to symbolize two celestial bodies (the moon and the sun), this 16mm moving image work pans over six perched, hooded birds in succession. These birds – some of whom were formerly critically endangered and have only lately made a recovery – are the sole focus of the frame. The owl, the film’s sixth and final subject, is the only bird without a hood, and gazes directly into the camera lens, asking the audience, “What do I see when I look at the other, and what does the other see when it looks back at me?”


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