convergences Screen 9 | Interpretation

DAVID SAMWELL, Surgeonís Mate, Discovery
Every now and then the concert would cease
    and only an old woman in the same canoe
                        was to be heard
         who made a bauling noise very much
like some of the cries of London.
         After jumping for a short time
                   the performer
              took his mask off and made
just such a noise as the old woman had done
     at the same time holding his arms
extended and shaking a small box
         or a wooden image of a bird
                   filled with pebbles
which made a rattling noise as accompaniment
         to the voice. Upon the whole
     it was as wild and uncouth a performance
              as any we had ever seen,
and that strongly marked
     the barbarous and uncultivated
              state of the people.
Mask.Nootka Sound. Cook Collection

Mask.Nootka Sound. Webber Collection.

Their cultures as thick as soup, the portable alphabet soup of the English, the indigenous fish and cedar soup of the Mooachahts. You claim that the ensuing events will be predictable, but you and I are merely postdicting this situation, an undertaking almost as difficult and equally as inaccurate. Nothing is certain for any of us even as we stand back to consider what has happened, and what may happen next. On every occasion the random and accidental intrude. The English hear the Mooachahts repeating nu-tka-sshi'a, nu-tka-sshi'a, meaning, Come around the point into the cove. They hear the sequence of syllables and think it is the name of this place. It is not important that they are wrong. The word and its mistaken reference go into the records and onto the charts and eventually into the minds of all of us, even the Mooachahts, who are sometimes referred to as Nootkans. Mistakes and their perpetuation are the essence of evolution. But what is it that evolves here, and to what end?

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