SANDBOX: Finding a Parliament of Fowls on Cross Street


Art is often the result of serendipity nudged by collaborative intellectual and aesthetic interests between people.

When a biologist and an English professor get together to ask questions about bird images appearing in medieval literature, the results can be nothing less than an exciting multimedia presentation at SANDBOX studio, Washington College’s showcase for art and the environment, a program that brings in international artists to create artistic events with students.

Rydel says that she first became interested in the accuracy of bird behavior in literature while reading the colonial poet Anne Bradstreet. She decided to query Carr and found that the metaphor Bradstreet used for bird nesting and the human family was more reality than poetic license. So began her close look at Chaucer’s 14th-century dream vision poem, “A Parliament of Foules” working in tandem with Professor Carr to determine if the ornithological representations were factual.

This detective work resulted in a unique and wonderfully complex multimedia presentation.

If you have a penchant for birds and an ear for Chaucer, this parliament is not to be missed.

In this video, Professors Rydel and Carr discuss the arc of their exploration and how it led to creating the exhibition.

“A Parliament of Fowls” created by Washington College Professors Jennie Carr and Courtney Rydel will open October 7, from 5:00-7:00 pm at Sandbox on Cross St.

Illustrated Lecture – October 4, 5:30 pm Litrenta Lecture Hall
Exhibition opening – October 7, 5:00 – 7:00 pm
Closes – October 28

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