As students of life, Biologists are called upon to investigate the world and report on its complexity. Ironically, in order to understand them, the subjects are killed and cut to pieces and named. Most practitioners of the science regard these sacrifices as a necessary evil, but some sensitive souls are haunted by their own barbarity and persist only out of a deep-seated sense of purpose.
Here, the ghostly face of the cicada peers out through its own dismemberment, accusing the viewer:
"Do these labels explain me, now?"
Of course, the answer must be:
"No, the labels explain the man, not the insect."
We collect them and cut them up, identify the parts and give them names, study their physiology, and run their enzymes out on gels. Yet despite our industry, such exercises cannot really tell us what a cicada really is. For that knowledge we must listen to the cicada. We must watch it fly. We must watch it drag itself out of the earth after two hundred and four silent subterranean months and metamorphose into a flying cacophony.