Friday, June 22, 2012

Intergalactic: The Narrative

From March thru the first week of June I was involved in an exhilarating collaborative art project called Artist Kamikaze IV. This was my second year and I was initially paired with clothing artist Patricia Mahnke. The project we wanted to undertake was going to be ambitious so we didn't waste any time meeting to outline a plan. What we decided was to create a character and costume, whom I would then paint. Eventually this evolved into two characters and costumes. 

As the project evolved we had the good fortune of being able to obtain a third partner, Kate Dupre, who brought photography and Photoshop skills to the project. The first week of April we determined that in light of our busy schedules the first and last date for doing a photoshoot with our new characters and costumes would be May 19. This would give us enough time, 6-7 weeks, to finish the costumes and assemble the props for the shoot, and still allow me enough time to do the painting I wanted to do. 

What follows here is our story line, as conceived by the three of us, evolving as we went along. In another blog entry I will share some of the lessons I learned through working on this invigorating collaborative venture. 

Intergalactic: The Narrative
By Patty Peterson Mahnke, Kate Dupre and Ed Newman

Building Aurora
Once upon a time the people of planet earth began to realize that their planet had no future. They were not fully aware of the causes, they only knew that earth’s core was shutting down. Mankind did not comprehend the role it had played in this event.

This was the Steampunk era of Celestial Dreamers, however, and two scientists, Professor Minerva Delphina Wonderborn and Dr. Jules Langdon Lafon, pulled threads of a dream together to create an automaton who could give the people of Earth a vital hope. In her womb she carried galaxies, nebulae and rainbow fragments of infinity.

One very cold mid-winter eve Drs. Wonderborn and Lafon christened their creation and called her Aurora. After a final inspection of all her moving parts, the doctors uttered an ancient ritual incantation and the automaton was animated by the spirits of life. In the next instant lights flashed, the doctors leaped away and Aurora was hurtled into the universe to fulfill her mission.

* * * 

After a solitary voyage through vast expanses of space Aurora found herself attracted to a solar system aligned with the Andromeda galaxy where she identified a planet that she would soon learn was Galdur, an unusual bewitched planet, yet similar to the Earth where she had been generated.

Her first impressions were that the desolate planet was uninhabited. But then, she perceived a presence. Her instincts told her to be still and wait. She had landed within the shadows of a forbidden forest.

Njall, the young seeker.
It happened on the occasion when both Galdurian moons were swollen with fullness. As fortune would have it, a young girl from that planet had defied the edicts of her people to visit the shores of Lake Eir where her descendants once played in the open light of day. Her name was Njall. When she saw the brilliance of Aurora’s coming, she trembled.

The people of this planet had been cast under a spell, living in perpetual insecurity and fear. Njall belonged to the tribe of Gissuradotti who had once been bold and fearless. In olden times they would have sent an entourage to welcome a strange visitor like this to their planet, but something had crushed their confidence. They had come to believe the lies of a false prophet who said the planet was doomed and they were a doomed race. As a result the entire race chose to live underground, living in caverns, waiting for the end.

Within the shadows of the forest Aurora stood motionless, fully aware. Njall, in defiance of her tribal tendency to flee, went forward to explore. This was the forbidden Forest of Griffton. Njall had heard that there was an altar there to an unknown God and she suddenly felt compelled to find it, for what reason she knew not.

As she entered the forbidden forest she caught sight of Aurora and was struck dumb by Aurora’s bright spirit and beauty. Weary of the hopeless outlook of her people, Njall stared at Aurora and wondered how anything but goodness could be in store for her people. Though it was against her nature, Njall stepped out of the shadows into the light of Aurora’s presence and crept toward this wonderful and strange being that stood before her.

Words were useless, but soon they found creative ways to tell their stories. Aurora explained how she had been sent to find a new home for the people of Earth. Njall, using gestures, symbols and the universal language of mathematics, helped Aurora comprehend the plight of Galdur.

For a long time both were silent, looking into one another’s eyes as they pondered the meaning of these things. Aurora then stepped back a pace and as she did so her belt began to radiate in a fascinating swirl of lights and colors, clouds, oceans and deep spacial wonders. Njall’s cheeks flushed and her eyes went wide as she became mesmerized by so strange a sight, and the emergence of a new hope for the peoples of two planets, so different and so the same.

The images associated with this project will remain on display at Pizza Luce in downtown Duluth through the end of June, along with the rest of Artist Kamikae IV.


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