In Norse mythology, Huginn (Thoughts) and Muninn (Memory) are a pair of ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin, the ‘raven-god’. Every day Odin asks that they fly over the world and bring back information about his people – their thoughts and their memories. With this information, he was able to remain a wise ruler, so the story goes.
The two sculptures illustrated, THOUGHT and MEMORY, look more like boats than birds. But they too could be sent out to cover the world, bringing back the thoughts and memories of the inhabitants of the many countries in whose harbors they visited.
So much of art, and by extension, life, is about thought and memory. Everything the artist creates and the viewer then sees and experiences is shaped by their current thoughts and memories of past experiences.
Every sensation in life is shaped by both our thoughts and our memories.
Thoughts are indeed important elements of a culture. They help define the ways in which current life is structured and the laws that are initiated by which we all should live. But Memory is far more important in that it contains the continuous string of memory which maintains the history of our humanity. Some might say when we lose our memory, we cease to exist as a civilization and as individuals.
In today’s world, this surveillance for thoughts and memories is often done by satellite or drones ‘flying’ in the atmosphere, as birds in air. Additionally, thoughts of the world’s inhabitants are gathered through high-tech electronics, creating memories that sometimes never happened. How then will our rulers remain wise or our human understanding of the world be accurate?