a labyrinth of cabalistic reasoning, biblical references and multi-species decay
produced by: daniel s. evans
This project aims to explore the potentiality of the website as a medium, to convey topics and ideas beyond the utilitarian/business paradigm of the most often used contemporary platforms and websites. It draws together many disperate dichotomies and attempts to draw threads between them all, offering a nebulous labyrinth of interconnected pages and dead ends. The labyrinth as a form originates, as outline by Doob, from Greek mythology in which it was a structure so complex and confusing that the monstrous Minotaur could not escape it. This 'in-escapability' was something I tried to reflect in this project.
It is ultimately an act of world-building, intended to persist beyond the scope of the exhibition. It is an experience best left to percieve alone, offering a vision of ways we may connect threads between disperate topical casms: the natural + technological, past + future, faith and reason etc. etc..
Ultimately the joy of this piece exists in its mystery, and in the process of discovering its many rooms. It is an esoteric wormhole ripe for individual exploration.
Concept and background research
Firstly my piece is informated by works of world building, be they fictional, real or religious. The world is informed by a sense of 'gnostic' or 'mystical' knowledge. By this I mean knowledge which is secret and mysterious that must be unlocked, what Jerome Gellman describes as "noetic" or "involving knowledge of what a subject apprehends...[it] involves a phenomenological de-emphasis, blurring, or eradication of multiplicity". This so called 'eradication' of multiplicity is vital to luzboneowl as it attempts to draw together many different topics, themes and taxonomies which could be related to mystical experience of reasoning and then break down there barriers, revealing the deep interconnected web beneath them.
This is spread across the website particularly through Jorge Luis Borges' fiction, the religious text of the Jewish Kabbalah, forms of language, chaos magick and natural forms of connection (notably funghi and their complex hyphic networks, and falconry with its intense historical knowledge base and human/animal relationships). I then wanted to draw a mirror between this and the website form itself, and the internet as an overwhelming connection of multiplitous pages and sets of knowledge whose boundaries and divisions are always being broken down and blurred. The computational in this piece becomes the blank canvas upon which these other ideas are explored.
I was also inspired by other websites which are similairly strange, overwhelming and confusing. I like how many of them seem to come from nowhere, often created by strange esoteric or anonymous figures and programmers.
---Most notably I was inspired by the website 'Yvette's Bridal Formal': https://yvettesbridalformal.p1r8.net/index.html
---I was also inspired by the recent works of some friends and collaborators: http://unearthlytransmissions.co.uk
The concept of the site is that it was literally created by the owl, the owl is its guardian and its protector. The reference to the 'luz bone' relates to the bone of the spinal column upon which the dead are said to be resurrected in the Kabbalah.
I was also heavily inspired by Umberto Eco's book 'Foucault's Pendulum'. In the novel a group of students who are interested in the occult, history, alchemy and conspiracy theories come up with their own conspiracy known as 'The Plan'. This takes them on a winding journey through biblical and occult references until they begin to genuinely believe in their own fallacy. The lines between fiction and reality begin to become blurred as they are persued by their own theories. This idea of world building across multiple topics, and treating your own world as if it is truthful knowledge, informed the creation of the site greatly.
I utilised the work of Borges, and in particular the 'Library of Babel', partly as it formed the crux of my theory module essay in which I formally oulined the axioms of the library. You can see these outlined at this page from luzboneowl. I wished to also refer back and include other work I had done on the course, thus adding the blurring lines of the multiplicitious taxonomies of knowledge and information represented in this website. Seen as Borges' work contains its own exciting, complex and overwhelming act of world building it seemed like such an obvious reference with which to explore another facet of 'gnostic' knowledge.
Lovecraft and his Cthulu mythos is also a major inspiration, as his world-building so often revolves around a distinctly knowledge-centric form of horror. Indeed knowing a certain thing in Lovecrafts world can be enough to send someone insane. It emphasises the power of knowing and how overwhelming certain sets of knowledge can be unto themselves.
In order to host all my files on the webpage, I utilised Githubs very useful 'pages' feature. This is a link to the Github repo I used for the project: https://github.com/pebxoxo/pebxoxo.github.io
I would like to continue adding more and more pages. I think this work can only get better the larger and more overwhelming it becomes. I would also like to extend links beyond luzboneowl, and add pathways to other websites I am inspired by, thus forming threads beyond merely the scope of my project. I would also like to develop some pages which maybe go even more in depth into the generative elements.
I sought to achieve a multi-connected, overwhelming labyrinth of a website which drew parallels between different taxonomies and topics which I find are interesting and very much related to one another. I think in this sense I achieved my own goals for this project. Towards the end of developing the website I got a little worried it wasn't 'computational arts' enough, and I still have that insecurity, but although it doesn't necessarily have extreme complexity of technology, I have quite obviously used computation (I coded it all myself, and it is a website, and it has some generative elements) and any uneccesarily complicated technical elements didn't feel necessary and I didn't think they would necessarily add anything. Perhaps this may have come about because for the start of this project I became pretty preoccupied with learning the details and nuances of HTML and CSS, and so my time for more complex computational processes became shorter and shorter. So in regards to whether I achieved what I set out to achieve: yes, but I am looking forward to developing this idea further and hopefully developing something that achieves my personal brief even more closely. One thing I even thought of just whilst writing up this documentation was the idea of adding a 'hit counter' to each page. So it is clear that new additions will be added bit by bit to this experience over time.
---Borges J. L., (1941), The Library of Babel
---Doob, P. R., (1992). The Idea of the Labyrinth: from Classical Antiquity through the Middle Ages
---Eco, U., (1988), Foucault's Pendulum
---Gellman, J., (2011), "Mysticism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy"
---Lovecraft, H. P., (1928), The Call of Cthulu