Moluccan Cockatoo Molly #1

Diana Thater American

Not on view

Sometimes referred to as a neo-structuralist, Thater is the heir of structuralist filmmaking and early experimental video. Her preferred medium is video, whose component parts (optical, technical, and structural) she self-consciously parses, calling attention to the work’s conditions of production and installation. As with Moluccan Cockatoo Molly #1, professional animals—animals trained and kept by humans—feature prominently in Thater’s videos. In many ways, such animals constitute her subjects as much as they do her media. Thater highlights the role that animals play, often anthropomorphically, as screens for human expectations, fantasies, and assumptions, but simultaneously denaturalizes these paragons of the (ostensibly) natural world. Moluccan Cockatoo Molly #1 is first in a series of ten related but distinct videos. The videos, shot sequentially, show the same bird performing a mating dance. Each video is a composite of three video feeds shot with three cameras from three different angles. From each of the three original video feeds, Thater removed all but one color (either red, blue, or green, which together comprise video’s color spectrum), later combining each feed to make an amalgamated image. This process has the hallucinogenic effect of splitting the bird, who appears whole but multiple, and reducing it to shades of black, white, and gray. Moluccan Cockatoo Molly #1 is closely related to and often exhibited with Scarlet Macaw Crayons, also in The Met's collection. In both cases, all the media and video equipment is placed on the floor, where it is visible to viewers, and if the galleries include windows, they are covered with red, green, and blue gels.

Moluccan Cockatoo Molly #1, Diana Thater (American, born Los Angeles 1962), One video monitor, one media player

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.