Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cycles ~ Visual Novel.

Hey ya'll 

So I was going through some of my old photo albums, getting rid of stuff when I came across something I did. It's actually a writing/visual art experiment for one of my final year subjects in University and I remember the fun, messy and amazing process it was coming up with it. The piece is in the form of a small book entitled "Cycles" which features, 4 chapters themed after the Cycles of Life. Instead of writing it down in "traditional" prose form, I decided to do something a lot more visual and symbolic (as per my style) and ended up producing something that means as much as what the text says, but also the sort of images that were used and the effects that were employed. Enjoy!

I decided to go for a simple cover page. The "white" portion of the image actually a tear that reveals the background panel of the scanner. The simple and cleanly written cover page is supposed to act as a literal/metaphorical mask to the turbulence beneath every individual. The tear is present to symbolize the fractures we all have in our perfect facades, that sometimes let our "inner" turmoils leak out. 
First chapter, struggle. Tells the story of a person (gender/identity ambiguous) who struggles with coming to terms with the way the world has made "it" be. Faceless, genderless but clothed in a costume of words and definitions, scientific jargon and "knowledge" that both teaches us so much about ourselves and yet limits us at the same time. The words were cut out of a dictionary. 
Cover page for chapter 2
In Death identity is again conflated. The story shifts seemingly back and forth between the perceptions of a dolphin out at sea and a man who watches the dolphin swimming. It is clear that both characters have an affinity for each other and very strong affections as well. They both recognize their similarities as beings but are faced with the limitations of their forms. The story alternates erratically between the two narratives. As the chapter progresses, it becomes increasingly confusing as to whose perspective is being iterated. Is the man the one who frolicks in the waves? Is the dolphin really the one watching the man. One of the characters suffers a fatal blow in the end, and dies The reader can only speculate who. 
In reincarnation we are confronted with the ramblings of a spirit in the throes of transformation. The spirit, who is a flexible creature is everything and anything all at once. Through some kind of dance, the creature shifts into something that is ambiguous in that it is many things all at once. This story, unlike the others, is the most confusing in that it is bereft of any form of structure at all. The spiritual being, being one that is without boundaries cannot hope to express itself in a linear way and I tried to capture that with my erratic change of tone, language, style and topic. In describing the end result of its transformation the spirit offers two significant words which are "Sword Flowers". What they are meant to mean is open to the reader's interpretation. 
The project "Cycles" ends with the chapter "Birth". Like  the process of real birth,  the visual effects of this chapter is both structured and messy, both violent and productive in that it culminate the meaning of the entire project. The chapter birth is really a monologue of all the characters in the novel thus far. Their thoughts, feelings, emotions, identity, ideas of what it means to be, meshed together in one cohesive piece. The central focus of the chapter, the image of the uterus spilling life blood is also equiped with two flaps that may be opened to reveal the silhouette of am amorphous being inside. Not known to the reader, is a separate story that exists underneath this layer. To get to the other story, the flaps that constitute the uterus must be torn apart, literally destroying the first story, signifying how meaning can sometimes only be found through the destruction of sense and order of what is on the surface.

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