Art and science, illustration and storytelling

If you visit the blog dedicated to Ivory-billed woodpeckers created by the naturalist and management professional Bill Benish you can also find the artist Reiko Goto’s response to the story of the Scottish illustrator Alexander Wilson‘s encounter with these birds.

Ivory-billed Woodpecker, 2000

The post you are looking for is dated 18th March and it introduces both the bird and Wilson.  It goes on to introduce a link to Goto’s website.  There you will find a story, retold and modified by Goto.

It is interesting to take the journey through the naturalist’s web site to find the artists’ story.

Goto’s concern is with empathy, and it seems to she achieves three things:

Firstly, Goto articulates how she wishes the story had ended. She has taken an existing story and used her own means to articulate a different ending.  This frames an alternaive relationship between a person and a bird.

She also used that different ending to evoke the bird’s experience more clearly. The new ending brought the bird’s experience to the foreground.

The form of the story she created also reintroduced an ethical dimension to the person-bird relationship through the judgement of the importance of the drawing in relation to the importance of the life of the bird.

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  1. Thanks for posting this link to Reiko Goto’s story and art at my blog Campephilus Woodpeckers. Eventually, my posts get backdated to keep them organized by topic. This post was made on 18th March 2010 as you noted, but it has now been backdated to 5th February 2010 to join the other posts devoted to Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

    Here is the link to it:


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