Conjugatons / Conjurations / Journeys
I have always loved Egyptian paintings, drawings, hieroglyphs, sculpture, history and culture. I once saw a scroll of a Book of the Dead that I admired that was reproduced in a book of Egyptian drawings. I checked the reference and wrote to the museum in Cairo asking if I could receive 8” x 10” glossies for study purposes. I sort of forgot about this inquiry, but many months later, received a simple paper envelope in the mail. Unfortunately, no cardboard backing had been enclosed and I was horrified to see that the entire mailer had been folded into quarters at some point in transit from Egypt to the United States. I immediately opened the package and immersed the photographs in water to relax the creases, and then decided to photograph them as they floated and recovered from their long journey. These images became the beginning of an image + text series that evolved into an artwork about time-travel, consciousness and comparative mythologies. The work drew upon images and texts from the recorded lives of Egyptian scribes and artists; medieval monks and nuns; alchemist/magicians and early scientists; and the various gods and goddesses as they have manifested themselves in many cultures and historical time periods, including the present day. Four major texts were selected from different times and places that included a story from the Inuit oral tradition, an excerpt from a 7th century Celtic manuscript, a description of a pre-relativity scientific experiment and a current day account of time-travel. The images I selected were color photographs taken in the context of my daily life while living in New Mexico during the 1980s. Conjugations / Conjurations / Journeys unfolds throughout 24 frames that could reference several short sequential passages of a short film. Or, the 24 frames could represent the passing of an entire day and night. The cycles of days, seasons, years and the many events of mystery and magic between humans and animals, men and women, the real and the imagined are represented or alluded to in the mythologies of this work. The stories that appear in both the images and texts play off each other and are reinforced, changed and reinvented. Time, place, transformation and coming-into-being materialize in the constant flow of individual experiences within contemporary everyday life.