Jonathan Harris on Cowbird

December 8, 2011

Days before the launch of his latest project - a multi-media storytelling platform for the public - Jonathan Harris tells Anne Strainchamps about his inspiration and vision for Cowbird.

You can also hear Harris talking about a past project - We Feel Fine - here.



I was unnerved and intrigued by the name Cowbird. In my experience names have meaning in the material world that is frequently greater and more concrete than we can understand at the moment of naming. Cowbird is not simply a fanciful amalgam of two concepts. The cowbird is a real bird whose behavior unusual. The cowbird lays her eggs in the nests of other birds, carefully "chosen" so that her eggs look like the eggs in the other bird's nest. When the babies hatch out, the cowbird hatchlings grow more rapidly than the hatchlings of the host birds. They consume most of the food that the host parents bring and frequently their nest mates starve.

As a parallel, we humans lay our stories (eggs) in other people's nests (brains) either as lies or truths to hatch preferred results.