[NetBehaviour] Bluejay

Max Herman maxnmherman at hotmail.com
Sat Jul 3 21:18:02 CEST 2021

Hi Alan,

I like your photo and phrasing here!  The line of soil reminded me of the water horizon in the Mona Lisa, which I've been studying as it is a bit unusual.

Not sure if this is part of your poem, but I've been looking at weaving as a motif and theme in Dante and Leonardo (possibly linked) and found the very interesting, to me anyway, etymological factoid that "technology" and "text" both derive from the Proto-Indo-European "teks-" which means "to weave."  Dante references the Fates and spinning often, and situates an allegorical garment associated with Circe in a central dream sequence of the Commedia (Purgatorio 19.1-33).  The dream is a little difficult to parse, with some incongruent elements and very unpleasant undertones of medieval misogyny, and might signify little more than Dante's own ambivalence or contempt toward romantic love.  I believe that Leonardo may have reinterpreted the dream sequence with some interesting and worthwhile revisions.

Re birds I was given a copy of Jennifer Ackerman's 2016 book on bird intelligence this summer and have been meaning to read it.  The cover illustration may be a type of jay, not sure, and the first illustration is of a finch or sparrow perhaps drinking from a human-made vessel similar to what motivated me to write a song in 2019.  The book says,

"[T]he avian brain had no cortex like ours, where all the 'smart' stuff happens.  Birds had minimal noggins for good reason, we thought: to allow for airborne ways; to defy gravity; to hover, arabesque, dive, soar for days on end, migrate thousands of miles, and maneuver in tight spaces.  For their mastery of air, it seemed, birds paid a heavy cognitive penalty.
"A closer look has taught us otherwise.  Birds do indeed have brains very different from our own--and no wonder.  Humans and birds have been evolving independently for a long time, since our last common ancestor more than 300 million years ago.  But some birds, in fact, have relatively large brains for their body size, just as we do.  Moreover, when it comes to brainpower, size seems to matter less than the number of neurons, where they're located, and how they're connected.  And some bird brains, it turns out, pack very high numbers of neurons where it counts, with densities akin to those found in primates, and links and connections much like ours.  This may go a long way toward explaining why certain birds have such sophisticated cognitive abilities....
"News has arrived that songbirds learn their songs the way we learn languages and pass these tunes along in rich cultural traditions that began tens of millions of years ago, when our primate ancestors were still scuttling about on all fours."

All best,


From: NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on behalf of Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com>
Sent: Saturday, July 3, 2021 2:00 AM
To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity <netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Bluejay



There is stasis in the feet, the claws, the post.
An imminent moment of invisible, internal tension.
The spring, the lift.
Nothing cries out in the beginning, throughout, beyond.
Silent in the middle of the city, perhaps no nest.
In the eaves, creatures.
It's the _tension_ of the bird, it's ours.
The weather worsens everywhere.
Canada O Canada.
The jay is _here_ not there, time looms, ours.
We are responsible for time, for _this._
We _loom._

Faster than us, we await, apocalyptic.
The apocalypse is a spiral, the jay is gone.
The post is gone, the city is gone.
The spring, when will weather worsen.
The edge of the when, the when.


NetBehaviour mailing list
NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://lists.netbehaviour.org/pipermail/netbehaviour/attachments/20210703/4cb50ff3/attachment.htm>

More information about the NetBehaviour mailing list