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photo: (c) steven lee rees
i am part of the load
not rightly balanced
i drop off in the grass,
like the old cave-sleepers, to browse
wherever i fall.
for hundreds of thousands of years i have been dust-grains
floating and flying in the will of the air,
often forgetting ever being
in that state, but in slee
i migrate back. i spring loose
from the four-branched, time -and-space cross,
this waiting room.
i walk into a huge pasture
i nurse the milk of millennia
everyone does this in different ways.
knowing that conscious decisions
and personal memor
are much too small a place to live,
every human being streams at night
into the loving nowhere, or during the day,
in some absorbing work.
from the shankarian dictionary:
> AARADH [ah.ah.rah.de], paradox; obscure; problem; equation; hide, to hide, hidden:
From Music for Angels:
Paradox. Paradoxes. Paradoxical. That's what we are. Human beings, I must make it very clear. We lost centuries; we still do, searching for the stories that explain our origins, our roots. We are obsessed by them. They, the sages and magicians were told those things in dreams, hallucinations, shamans breathing strong fumes and shouting in spasms the words of Gods and Goddesses, but they never found a home in those words. They are empty, stories made of words and premonitions and the ones who told them. Men and Gods. We'll never find a home within these ancient motets, the canons are too humane, and the Gods are too weak to believe in themselves. There's no home where there isn't a heart in. The clouds gathering in the empty skies, for the wind cries of late. Even the men who never lied is capable of believe. The string in the Labyrinth that will help to find the way out. Pandora's Box. Ariadne playing the sitar in a sky of burning words.
From the Book of Death:
Even without an answer, the question remains the same. All the questions remain impossibilities, that are the joy of the possibility of choices, the thoughtlessness of existence, have questions and answers without any echo, without any consequence and importance for life. They call it Philosophy (*). I call it a Game. Where is the difference? Thinking is about connections, improvisation, guessing, compare stigmas and odd facts, using the mind as an instrument, as a drummer uses feet and hands to beat the drums. Philosophy is a beat pattern that you use/choose as your own rhythm, with all the influences you had in the past and present. Philosophy (1) are condensed thoughts frozen in time. Words with rhythms, and nothing more than that, more or less, so-so, in a way of saying. Philosophy(2)is the language of the dead that speaks again in the mouth of the living. Old fashion words re-vamped into new colours. Philosophy(3) is a fashion? Have you ever seen Anu?
The question is very valid, though.
Nothing but the game of words. WORD UP, nothing but the same old game of words, power, glory, subversion, war, peace, love, hate, blood, nothing but the old game of superiority over the others. The strongest will survive, isn't it? The more capable, the one with more artefacts, arms, will stay upon this Earth and the weakest will perish. The giants rule the world and the small ones are the slaves working for them. Believe in this if you want. Don't believe in it, it's your very own choice. Everything's nothing but a game. But if it is a game of power between men, you have to decide. If you want to add God to it, is up to you. If you desire to walk alone along the shore in a foggy morning feeling the pebbles in your bare feet and cry listening to the sea heart beat, it is you own and naked choice. Tears are fugitive pieces of you. Your Self is a piece of a Game you have to learn the rule.
In the middle of the shaft,
the iron that produces fire
Circling around the sun of life
That shines in the jade
And on the beauty of an erect phallus.
And the centre of the world hides
On the belly bottom of earth.
There are no mysteries,
Pain compares to the spasm of the
Wounded by the companion.
(*) It is true that to think too much spleens, and to laugh, though being good for the liver and skin beauty, does show signs of a person’s insecurity, I was told and observed those remarks often, but thinking too little makes one to place certainties where mistake and foolishness are, very too often. Why do I approach silence carefully? I don’t know for sure, but seems to me that talking too much is a vicious thing as well, as one that gibberish over and over seems to exasperate, especially if it is a serious and philosophical monologue. To philosophy is to converse, to have a dialogue and not, as it happens too often as well, a contempt of a discourse with long and beautiful, difficult though, words and axioms and theorems and saying I am talking, I do know what is the world about. One must find a balance on one’s discourse and exchange opinions to learn even more, and that seems a practical and very nice a start. (…) Sometimes it is advisable, though, to keep one to oneself and procure quite planes for meditation as solitude is an excellent counsellor as thoughts and questions arise of quietness and observation. (Scriptorium Ars)
painting & photo (c) benjamin silva-pereira
(1) From the Pert Em Hru, The Book of Death: 14. The Book Of False Beginnings: The Place Of The Dead Roads, The Lands Of The Dead, The Hole Of Thought, The Search For The Whole: How Small Is A Thought It Takes Only A Life To Fill A Whole Tiny Second: the twin thoughts of twin brothers of twin worlds in a twin cosmos, parallel explosions creating beats and lives, existence of dust, glimmering words expanding faster and faster, how long does it take to a have a thought?
The name of words. The remembrance of a face. The fact of a poem. The divine wisdom of feelings. The wild certainty of all the Histories of the Worlds. The Maps of Stars, The Constellations of Human Genealogies, The Routes of Thinkers, The Underworld Explained To The Children, The Bedtime Stories of Gilgamesh to Enkidu, The Form Of Shells, The Spirals Of Creation By The Eternal Gods, The Circling Of The Music, The Spheres of Alienation: The Book Of All Beginnings: The Book Of Death.
(2) From the Pert Em Hru, The Book of Death: 15. Let’s pretend that you know what you are reading. Let’s pretend that you are someone else than you that you belong to the privileged beings that can master a thought. If so, what are you doing in these pages, what are you, why are you, how are you deciphering these words. These pages are the place of doubt. You can’t find what you are looking for here. Suggestion: give up and search in other place for the mysteries that are consuming you. Like everything this is only paper, ashes for ashes, mistake after mistake, and you just can wander as you wonder.
You will never see yourself in these pages.
16. Instead, why you don’t you enjoy the tears, the biggest of all gifts. And joy, and pain. Sadness and laughter. Remembering and forgetting. You just have to enjoy, because living is learning. There is no such a thing as The Book of Death, or the Sacred Versicles, or:
The Book of Celestial Music.
if sad I a
I retire to silence
and distance –
better to grieve and search
for deliverance and contempt
not to upset the ones loved.
happy I smil
and share the joyful tenderness
I feel inside;
very happy I cry
of its fastness.
17. Instead, enjoy the rain and the quietness of a rainy afternoon flooded by thoughts and mists. Enchant yourself with your won inventions. Nothing is more consistent than the Nothing, and creating from that is a gift, the real miracle. Hierarchy of Angels, Atlas of the Heavens, The Lures of God. These are the Void, the Doubt, the real matter of time and existence, even if the opposite is real as well. The Book of Dead must be jotted by you, and only you.
And be human, humane.
And the answers were there for and at all the times.
(3) From the Pert Em Hru, The Book of Death: 19. Images and from images adoration of ephemera. Moral and from morals dispersion of pure thoughts. Ideas and from ideas suffering and atrocity. Death and from death the primordial waters of life. Let us be good. For the Gods don’t care anymore – brief ejaculations and rich indulgences; senses will bring illumination – ever-watchful omniscience.”
20. All is full of love the Poets say, and is correct or should be as the water is clouds and ice and water again, blessed.
photo: (c) steven lee rees
> KEBILI [qheh.bee.lee] (also known as nun, the primordial waters); 1. the house of the double axe (palace of minos); 2. the labyrinth (complicated and irregular network of passages or paths, membranous canals, chambers of intricate and tangled arrangements, 6763.) 3. kebili was once said to be like oceanus, the son of gaia (earth) and ouranos (sky), masculine and feminine, black and white, thus the opposite same character. ‘from the waters kebili raised potent and erect, majestic rock surrounded by mother water’ (6775.)
from the yyzar poetica:
the most beautiful example of labyrinth was given to see in a great illustration of that rare exemplar of the work of constancius apprillada, philosopher and genius architect from the xv and xvi centuries; genovese of a distinct application to the mysteries of mathematics and metaphysics, and where he discourses about those absurd constructions, stone and thoughts that since immemorial times fascinates us (…) on that manuscript i could observe the several levels and obstacles of that semi-subterranean construction, for where you entered through a tiny door on the marble roof. its interior, accordingly to detailed illustrations (for sure fantasies) is furnished of magnificent saloons with frescoes and columns that moved with the walls, activated by a hydraulic precise and complex mechanism, fed by a underground river and by a ‘cauldron of hot vapours and steams fuming from the entrails and tripe’s of fecund and black earth, powerful and monstrous ancient force’ at the disposal of the architect of that gigantic edifice. (…) its location it is mysterious until today. as there was only one level at earth prime, and again accordingly to apprillada, the building was built on a place of great dislocation of sands (possibly a desert?); it is natural that the edifice today is under earth. (…) the purpose of this sublime nexus and plexus bifurcated corridors, saloons and rooms for the deposit of alexandria’s tomes; it would be so an underground library for humanity, protected by ‘miraculous and haunting powers’ of ancient engineers, architects and artists.
anne kilmer (quoted by randy p. conner in blossom of bone) says that ‘the axe of gilgamesh’s dream is not only meant to convey the action of chopping – an action possibly linked to ritual castration – but also to indicate as association with between this axe, called a hassinu, and a gender-variant priest, an assinnu. she further suggests that the other object of gilgamesh dreams, the shooting star, or kizru, is used in the story to remind the mesopotamian reader of the term kezru, which signifies a male wearing a feminine hairdo, or in other words a male hierodulic priest (or male prostitute). ‘the implication of the double pun is, of course, that the often suspected (…) sexual relationship between gilgamesh and enkidu is, after all, the correct interpretation.’
kebili is composed of the signs for penis (tamen) and vagina (iyfut).
the circulation of shadows: don't forget that before you had entered the labyrinth someone built it, someone designed the corners and the traps, that the drawing is something erected on purpose to fool you. don't forget that the exit is known by now, so try to understand the riddles and the writings of those before you. legends are not always myths and mistake, maybe they have a kind of ancient knowledge you have to decipher accordingly with your time, in most cases of their time.
time is volatile, it comes and goes, time is always the same, only men die and is born, not time, because it doesn't exist.
on the other side, entering the labyrinth is a solitary mystery, an ordeal of personal ghosts and remembrances; you must be on your own, free and naked. like old games, not always logic prevails as the line to follow.
and this labyrinth changes its configuration. where before was a pond now is a small tower with flowers embroidered on the walls. where there was a tree is now a fountain of golden liquors. remember that the makers of the labyrinth just want to play a game with you. you are a manipulated piece, a substitute pawn in this game. what you'll do someone has done before, and the makers of the building know all the rules and laws that you have to discover.
find your own synchronicity. unfold your own map and draw it yourself. once you enter the labyrinth you lose all the rights, you are a captive of it. so, build your own defences. be happy in there, because you can turn yourself into beauty, and be of art. who knows the purpose of this enormous machine?
photo & manipulation: wassily blossfeldt
from the yyzar poetica:
gian-battista della porta said: the parts of the body contain in between themselves mutual correspondences; for example the opening, the hole of the mouth and the thickness of the lips, or its smallness denote which is (the size) of the aperture of women’s shame parts; the same way the nose shows which one is the membrum virilis.
egyptian lists give the number of nomes as forty-two or forty-four, although the classical writers strabo, diodorus and pliny are not in agreement with these figures. strabo tells us that the labyrinth contained twenty-seven chambers, each representing a nome. two of these were in upper egypt, ten in lower egypt and seven in heptanomis. herodotus, on the other hand, claims that the labyrinth contained twelve halls, and pliny lists forty-five nomes, names of which were obviously hellenised. [6797, quoted by murry hope in the sirius connection; vide yyzar poetica, ophiuro]
the pornographer writer urno bro was a wide traveller and registered on his diaries the time when he visited the egyptian labyrinth (and the account of the visit is very similar to that one of herodotus, below, seemingly a copy).
‘ …an immense labyrinth above the calm waters of the moeris, near crocodilopolis. i’ve seen it and it is above my abilities to make an exact account of it. (…) it has twelve covered courts, six on each side, north and south, with opposed gates (…). inside the building there are fifteen hundred rooms above earth and the same underground [that contain the tombs of those royal who built the labyrinth and of sacred crocodiles]. the top rooms are difficult to believe were the work of men. (…) room after room, gallery after gallery, courtyard after courtyard of intricate labour. the ceilings are made of stone like the walls covered with carved drawings and figures exquisitely built of marble and supported by columns. (…) near the end of the labyrinth there is a pyramid of two hundred and forty feet height with beautiful carvings of animals (…), surrounded by the [artificial] lake.’
great daedalus of athens was the man
that made the draught, and form’d the wondrous plan;
where rooms within themselves encircled lye,
whit various windings, to deceived the eye
as soft maender’s wanton current plays,
when thro’ the phrygian fields it loosely strays;
backward and forward souls the dimpl’d tide,
seeming, at once, two different ways to glide:
while circling streams their former banks survey,
and waters past succeeding waters see
now floating to the see with downward course
now pointing upward to its ancient source,
such was the work, so intricate the place,
that scarce the workman all its turn cou’d trace;
and daedalus was puzzled how to find
the secret ways of what himself design’d.
these private walls the minotaur include,
who twice was glutted with athenian blood:
but the third more successful prov’d,
slew the monster, and the plague remov’d.
(c) calligraphy & photo: an-men
the eyes where love in chastest fire would glow,
joying to be consumed amidst their light,
the face whereon with wondrous lustre bright
the purple rose was blushing o'er the snow;
the hair whereof the sun would envious grow
it made his own less golden to the sight
the well-formed body and the hand so white
all to cold earth reduced lies here below
in tender age, a beauty all entire
e'en like a blossom gathered ere its time,
lies withered in the hand of heartless death:
how doth not love for pity's sake expire
ah! not for her who flies to life sublime
but for himself whom night extinguisheth.
luis vaz de camoes
from the shankarian dictionary:
> OPHIS: [‘oh.fee.ss] (Ar.) 1. the snake, the serpent. Ourobouros; vicious, sly, viscous, danger; poison, first sign of death; symbol of constant power of renewal 2. Gobi and Alykiur tribes celebrate Ophis in other incarnations, as a deity of male fertility, the god of the scrotum. Shang is celebrated in Gobi as a kind of Pan or Dyonisius; Shang brings laughter, inebriation, consolation, satisfaction and, again, virility. He is represented as a very joyous laughing boy often naked and ridding a swan; always with a goats’ skin bottle of fermented milk, a leather bag of seeds and a red snake on his hands (representing the male genitalia.) Samuqan, in Arishankar and Alykiur, is never represented in pictures. That would make him run away from the house to protect. He is told to be a kind of Ariel and likes figs, dates and bananas! He is the deity of the male games. Usually (exactly as in the ritual for Songju of the Korean Mudang) when a house is built, renovated or rebuilt, even when a new family moves in, offerings were displayed for the deity of the ‘little boys, playing with themselves, naughty, funny, alert and vigilant’, 6775; milk, honey and rice to avert unexpected misfortune, to proportionate good deaths, happy marriages, to bless weddings and avoid catastrophes. [Vide body of text nos. 6781 relating to Samuqan and his origins on the Clay Tablets of Hamadan. Vide also Iyfut]
3. ‘Remember the heart of the place.
A house made of mud
Slime and hay
Water from the skies
Tears from ever –
Don’t forget the eye
The lips smiling, the ibis
Flying ahead atop
Blessing. The construction
Of walls are myrrh perfect
For protection; scent of laughter
And beer and wine,
There they are, come O Thoth
And your son Shang, the spur of Ophis,
Enjoy the libation of milk and honey
And the rice cakes.
Protect us from ourselves;
Make us enjoy and live.
Long you fly,
Long you breathe. Come O Shang
And bless us with your mirth.’
4. (6781): Tired, Takshaka retired to his bed warmed up by the young body of Ophis, the bou-snake, after promising to the curious boys that he will continue the story of Gilgamesh. Before falling asleep, laced in the body of young Ophis, he told him:
‘The Gods that men created are abominable and intolerant. Do not be as the others are. Tolerance demonstrates the strength of wishing to learn. Who is not like that do not deserve tenderness or piety. Being tolerant at the very same time you do no impose advantages, at the same time you demonstrate integrity, turns you into the owner of your own; and that it is indeed the gold of the golden virtues. Not being or wanting to be the owner of the Other is a sign of the Great Art, signal that you appreciate things with force, without moralities. The story of Gilgamesh is the personification of men, though they are impregnated and eaten by the divine names. Dear Ophis, my pupil and adopted son, nature is part of its cyclical phenomenon, nothing else but that. Men make up laws, and they should be not respected. There are no regulations or methods in laws or in nature. They only exist when one notices them. Laws as a nature regulating men? No! It is the Art that makes possible to them to exist, abstract, on its compositions. The Art is a game to be altered accordingly with its makers and participants, inconstant, a chaos of beauty to be achieved. If men continue to ignore the Art, men will lose their similarity.’
5. [The Mystical Chants of Mirabai:
The serpent of love’s anguish bit my body, under the effect of the poison life abandons me.
Who will annoint a remedy in my wound?
Which companion, which friend, what server will find me my beloved?]
6. 6775. ‘Do you want to know two other names of the serpent of Ancient Art? Let be known that one you pronounced it already, you read it too! In India she has the name of Takshaka. It is the name of the Great Old Man that tells the story of Gilgamesh. He is the surrogated father of Ophis that will be known as Ibn Al Iznar, and several other names. The second name to the ancestral snake is Kundalini, a powerful astral force, the virile power of glandules, the power of knowledge. Another one is also the Indian Linga, the erectile male member. In the Land of the Black Earth it is called the Buto, Merttseger, Reneret, the snake-goddess.’
7. Basilisk, a hybrid snake or fantastic animal whose breath and gaze have deadly powers, it is also a symbol of death, also Hydra, the Lernaean Serpent, monster of at least nine heads, for each slashed two others are born (Greek mythology). Apophis, the Egyptian arch-foe of the sun god and of world order.
8. Of weapons I am the thunderbolt; among cows I am the surabhi. Of causes for procreation I am Kardarpa, the god of love, and of serpents I am Vasuki (The Bhagavad-Gita) [See Kundalini and Chimera].
9. (From the) Popul Vuh:
The dawn has approached
Preparations have been made
And the morning has come
For the provider, the nurturer
Born in the light
Begotten in the light
Morning has come for humankind
For the people of the face of the earth
The Creators went on thinking in the darkness, in the night
As they searched and they sifted
They thought and they wondered
And there their thoughts came out in clear light
They sought and discovered what was needed for human flesh
The yellow corn
The white corn
From the Split Place
The ears of yellow corn and white corn
The corn became the human flesh
The water became the human blood
The making, the modelling of our first mother-father
This was done by the Bearer, Begetter
Sovereign Plumed Serpent.
Boshongo Creation Story:
Still Bumba our Creator was in pain.
He strained once again and from his mout
Nine living creatures came forth:
The leopard named Koy Bumba,
And Pomgo Bumba,
And one little fish named Yo;
Next, old Kono Bumba, the tortoise,
And Tsetse, the lightning, swift, deadly, beautiful like the leopard,
Then the white heron, Nyanyi Bumba,
Also one beetle,
And the goat named Budi.
The creatures themselves then created all the creatures.
The heron created all the birds in the air,
The crocodile made the serpents and the iguana,
The goat produced every beast with horns.
Yo, the small fish, brought forth all the fish of all the seas and waters.
The beetle created the insects.
Then the serpents in their turn made grasshoppers
And the iguana made the creatures without horns.
photo: (c) benjamin silva-pereira
late march 2010 we received a very short email from someone calling himself an-men. any other names are until today unknown to us. that short message said simply: i am an-men. i live in morocco and i make collages in the form of sounds. i’d like you to hear some of them, which i attach to this missive. would you be ever so kind as to respond? of course we did answer the email after listening to the demos. we never quite heard anything like those. we thought they were not demos at all but finished recordings. there was a very earthly and strange low-fidelity qualities to the recordings presented. they had an assurance and a organisation diverse from what we were and are used to. they were not ambient but noise, akusmatica, arabica, melodic, experimental, with tones of sampling improvisation and an evolution in themselves that easily could tell one story or various simultaneously.
we contacted an-men and we agreed to a recording session at the naked lizard lounge studios in london in september 2010. without knowing the semblance of an-men we went to heathrow airport to find this pale man recording the environment in the arrivals’ lounge. he records everything at any given time. believe or not these recordings are transmuted with basic equipment and used in the entirety and all tracks of what became ‘gozyasi’. we spent four days in the studio and basically an-men refused to be known as a person, his sounds (he never called it music) are the important, and only those. his work was intrinsically instinctive and simple. he refused to use any form of technology he couldn’t master and he brought his own equipment. the time we spent in the studio could well been spent in a hotel room or any other part of a house. an-men refused to use effects also and dubbing was partially allowed in two tracks only. a revox was used to re-record the compositions and a simple analogue echo chamber we found on a second-hand shop. the drum sounds were compiled by an-men playing the back of a carton box with the microphone inside, and other percussion was sampled from vinyl records (he brought himself also.) a great part of the recording sessions were spent analysing and editing birdsongs an-men recorded by the streams around east sheen, in richmond park and by the river thames (some at night time.) [...] an-men used too a great deal of turntablism and work with scratching and then treating the sounds with simple reverb and echo. [...]
the titles of the compositions were decided by an-men even before the recording (and, in some cases the re-mixing) tracks; he knew perfectly well what he wanted to achieve and how: thus the speed of the sessions. for what we could perceive an-men has his own language (and spelling) which brings an added charm to the ‘gozyasi’ album. ‘leeleein blume’ seems to be a wrong spelling to ‘lily in bloom’, but he uttered something about people springing the sounds and the environment, and while working on this theme he referred several times to ‘bloom of the novel, the man that lived more in a day than we all live in our whole life...’ so we must presume (maybe wrongly) that an-men was referring to leopold bloom from james joyce ‘ulysses’, but we never know. ‘artehamo’ is even more difficult to decipher as he recorded the whole tracks almost in silence and only seemed concerned with the sounds and not in explaining them (as with all the other tracks.) we must indulge in our ignorance and use our imagination, but then we don’t have to explain anything. we presume it may have to do with ‘art i love you’(?) – arte/te/amo? ‘anaïs’ is, undoubtedly based and made for miss nin (the writer) as an-men kept on reading pages of her diaries. ‘lalla bai’ seems to be a misspelling of ‘lullaby’ but then nothing was said about it. ‘ammehlea’ presumably is another woman with a different spelling as ‘maria’ is for sure another woman (but whom?) ‘gozyasi’, we discover some weeks later, is ‘tears’ in turkish, but well can be something or someone else whatsoever...
photo: (c) steven lee rees
an-men wanted the sleeve of ‘gozyasi’ to be a picture of some old labyrinth taken from some ancient book or illustration. he had his own collection cut and paste in a kind of diary or notebook he kept all the time with him. it was only after dinner one night in steven lee rees home that an-men fell in love with some photographs taken that day (of a glass of wine, exactly) and there he immediately asked permission to use them. he preferred them to the labyrinth idea as ‘they look like an enigma, they are liquid and though they seem airborne... perfect for the water and air and fire and earth’ (decipher yourself what he meant with it!) we wanted to interview an-men for a post on the catalogueofwonders.eu website but instead he produced some cuttings from magazines and newspapers referring to ‘prospero’s books’ (by peter greenaway) and a thick volume, ‘the house of leaves’ (by marc z. danielewsky.) he preferred us to copy the articles and photos and just do not write anything about him. (the photographs and articles are posted on an-men’s page on the website.) he provided us also with some handwritten pages (maybe on his own calligraphy) regarding a dictionary of a language (invented?) regarding water, labyrinths and other strange facts (created?)
apart from the music we do not know many things about an-men, and we are sure he will be upset with this introduction to his first release. after his departure to tangiers we received one single simple email saying: “‘gozyasi’ is what it is supposed to be, since ever. the sounds may one day turn themselves into music. it is not up to me to transmute them more than they are. thank you for letting me be.”
photo: wassily blossfeldt
warning: all written & visual materials are copyrighted
(c) +(p) 2013 catalogue of wonders (arts), london & of the authors.
extracts from the shankarian dictionary courtesy of asobi publishing, tokyo, japan, used by permission > duplication and copy not authorised without prior written permission from the catalogue of wonders (arts), london: email@example.com