The Morality of Owls

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Artist’s Statement: The Morality of Owls is a short film based on a sculpture inspired by a poem of the same name by the Irish poet Rory Brennan. The poem has a tongue in cheek aspect that I had not noticed on the first reading. It envisions the owl as the sage and wise bird in its historical context. In fact wisdom and mystery are perceived as the very essence of its presence through the ages. It all started with Athena, who chose the owl to adorn her impressive friezes on the Acropolis, but in the end it is only a bird, of course. I had a few ideas about how to visually adapt my sculpture to the poem, but in the end the film was born out of a sense of necessity, a strong feeling that the piece should be seen in the round. After I had finished the sculpture I realized that you should be able to view the owl from all sides, hence the rotation. Some technical facts; it rotates on an electric potter’s wheel at a very slow speed. Furthermore, the dark background with very minimal lighting evokes a full-moon effect. The music came to me during a sleepless night and I find it works very well with the owl and the poem; it has a mesmerizing quality to it and gently encourages you to sit down, look and listen.

About the Contributors: Peter Macken met Rory Brennan on the Greek Island of Paros where Rory spends his summers. Rory lives in Dublin. He has won the Patrick Kavanagh and W.B. Yeats Awards for his poetry. Rory’s published works include The Old in Rapallo, The Walking Wounded, and The Sea on Fire, among others. Photographer/cinematographer Panagiotis Kalkavouras was born in the Peloponnese in Greece. His latest project is about the man-altered and downgraded landscape of the Greek Island of Paros that he calls is home.

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Peter Macken, born in Belgium, had a career as a graphic designer and art director, mostly in the entertainment world, music, film and theater.  Lately he finds myself painting again and sculpting in wood.

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