Fabre's Moth (sixth sense)
One of a kind artist's book with bleached and toned cyanotype images, handset letterpress, silk, acrylic, metallic thread.
It was a May morning in the 1870’s when she emerged
from a cocoon on Fabre’s laboratory table—
she was a great peacock moth.
He put her under glass and left her
to spread her wings to dry,
then opened the window to the night.
When he returned to the room,
Fabre found it a wild flutter of wings—
hundreds of male moths had come to call upon their lady,
bidden by some sixth sense,
but she was gone…
I made Fabre’s Moth (sixth sense) after reading an account in an old science almanac about the discovery of pheremones in the 1870s. The possibilities of senses beyond the five we all know interest me, and this book is a memorial to Fabre’s discovery and also a narrative about personal independence.
I work in techniques of photography that were in common use during Fabre’s lifetime, based on straightforward principles of science--the mixing of chemicals and coating of paper, then exposure of that paper to the sun and water. This early photography fascinates me because, like Fabre’s experiment, it is so straightforward, yet results in something complex.