Monday, November 22, 2010

Myth and science: word beasts 5

I stumbled on the Norse idea of a fylgja while I was mucking about on wikipedia to write this story. The idea of a beast that accompanies each of us, a symbol of our fortune, as we make our way through our life appealed to me somehow. I’ve been known to give people animal names. I’ve had a kitten for mine as far back as I can remember.
Eventually I stumbled on Odin’s fylgja, the two ravens, Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory. He sends them every day across Midgard to bring him news of it. And each day he worries that they will not return.




 
For Hugin I fear lest he come not home,
But for Munin my care is more.

I was amused. Today we know that crows/corvids are indeed quite clever and capable of both thought and memory. They have earned their legendary titles. They can do an awful lot of clever stuff. They can figure out how to complete a task using a series of tools in ways that require them to reason. They cache and store food away, and then recover it, They modify their caching behaviour depending on whether or not another crow watches them showing they can infer about the state of knowledge of another creature, something human children learn only after four years or so.
Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory, then became my next word beast project. The ravens are made from the science that investigates their cognitive abilities, their ability to think thoughts and make memories.
Huginn and Muninn copy small
As always, prints and stuff at Redbubble.

5 comments:

digital product photo studio said...

Free and liveluy..nice work!

Russ said...

Really cool post. Something out of the norm in regards to other photo blogs. Great Photo.

Malvika said...

Okay so reading blogs after a while. I am loving this Tash. Conceptually so cool.

Natasha said...

Thank you mommy hen!

Natasha said...

Thanks DSPS and Russ. I wonder if you can call it a photo blog anymore though,.