"Signifying the Whale"
November 1st, 2012 - April 19th, 2013 (and still on Flickr!)
Signifying the Whale started as a photo group within the website Flickr, and now that the exhibit has ended continues there now. The public is invited to post images of "signified" (to be a sign or symbol of something), documented, or artistically rendered whales to the Flickr image pool. Actual whale photos will be excluded.
Signifying the Whale is crowd-sourced and generated from this continually expanding Flickr group. On the day the exhibit opened the pool consisted of close to 1,450 images, submitted by hundreds of different photographers, from around the corner to around the world.
The images in the pool are administered by the Museum's photography curator. The exhibit is generated directly from the Museum's Flickr favorites.
If you would like to submit images, but do not have a Flickr account, send your image files via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. (In this case we would post your image to our Flickr "photostream", with credit and copyright pointing back to you.)
Signifying the Whale evolved from the Museum's 2003 Whaling History Symposium presentation by Zubeda Jalalzai and Jason Fiering entitled Wayside Whaling. In it they investigated the connections between popular icons in contemporary New Bedford, its once dominant but now defunct whaling industry and the enduring language of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.
Melville wrote In Chapter 57: "In bony, ribby regions of the earth, where at the base of high broken cliffs masses of rock lie strewn in fantastic groupings upon the plain, you will often discover images as of the petrified forms of the Leviathan partly merged in grass, which of a windy day breaks against them in a surf of green surges." And "Then, again, in mountainous countries where the traveller is continually girdled by amphitheatrical heights; here and there from some lucky point of view you will catch passing glimpses of the profiles of whales defined along the undulating ridges."