So I got interested in Greek mythology while researching the myth of Orpheus for some work done by FGT (Orpheus, Twice). From there, I wanted to read up on Daedalus, after hearing a song by Thrice of the same name. The story involved in Dustin Kensrue’s lyrics is of Daedalus and his son, Icarus. Most people familiar with the story of Icarus read it as a warning against being overly confident and reckless, or even a tale to respect nature and listen to your elders (in Icarus’ case, his father).  The story is most often told from Icarus’ perspective, and Daedalus comes off as the worrysome father who is sort of a buzzkill, but rightfully so, and Icarus comes off, in the end, as sort of a stubborn douche. However, we forget that Icarus would have been incredibly young, described as a boy (this presumes less than 13 years old) who has no understanding of consequences of his action, let alone an understanding of death as a result. And during said story, Daedalus gets caught up in the moment, enjoying time with his son soaring through the sky like gods, and relishing in the new beginnings this flight seems to offer.

In comparison, Kensrue chose to focus on Daedalus’ perspective. Him and his son are imprisoned on the island of Crete, and Daedalus sees this as no life for his son. With his engineering skills, Daedalus fashions a set of wings for each from wax, string, and feathers from birds, and teaches his son to fly before they journey away from the island. What he seeks is for his son to get an opportunity at a real life, at a real beginning. What ends up happening is that he crashes into the sea and drowns, right in front of Daedalus’ eyes, a very striking end, instead.

The reason I was so interested in this story was the lack of distinction between beginning and end, or at least the lack of need to distinguish, as Daedalus’ new beginning for Icarus turns into his end instead. Similar to my bed/water pieces, which present images associated with both beginning and end together, I created a diptych based off of the myth that provides images that could represent both a beginning and an end, utilizing the image of a wing and a half-submerged figure in water.
(in progress shots below)

The wing can be read as freedom or beginning, but could also be read as an image of an angel, who typically is utilized to represent the afterlife, death, etcetera. Similarly, the submerged figure could be either sinking into or rising out of the water. This inability to identify an end or a beginning allows the piece to just be and serves to dissolve the differences constructed between the two entities.

Untitled (I’ve Seen You Dis/Reappear)
MP, 2013

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