gilgamesh (11) utnapishtim

1. i will begin the explanation of my latest artist book by first talking about Mia Leijonstedt. i know Mia through twitter only. she is a very gifted book artist who combines technical skill with true artistic sensibilities. i think there are many of us who dream of one day 'being that good'. she and i have twittered now and then and she has always been very complimentary towards my own work.

a few months ago she posted a new book project, and spoke in her post about this object having a narrative structure and that it could be considered a book. this set me to thinking about a new project my own, inspired by her work.

2. i find the mythology of non greek/western cultures interesting. they often follow very different narrative courses than those stories we grow up with and read in our formative years. the story of gilgamesh became the second part of the genesis of this dovetailed book. in particular - the flood myth - which was added to the epic cycle by a later editor.

"In Tablet XI Gilgamesh meets Utnapishtim, whotells him about the great flood and reluctantly gives him a chance for immortality. He tells Gilgamesh that if he can stay awake for six days and seven nights he will become immortal. However, Gilgamesh falls asleep and Utnapishtim tells his wife to bake a loaf of bread for every day he is asleep so that Gilgamesh cannotdeny his failure. When Gilgamesh wakes up, Utnapishtim decides to tell him about a plant that will rejuvenate him. Utnapishtim tells Gilgamesh that if he can obtain the plant from the bottom of the sea and eat it he will be rejuvenated, be a younger man again. Gilgamesh obtains the plant, but doesn't eat it immediately. He places the plant on the shore of a lake while he bathes and it is stolen by a serpent who loses his old skin and thus is reborn.Gilgamesh, having failed both chances, returns to Uruk, where the sight of its massive walls provokes him to praise this enduring work of mortal men. The implication may be that mortals can achieve immortality through lasting works of civilization and culture." - wikipedia

3. those that follow my posts on the books i create know i have been increasingly drawn to add wooden elements into the work, an offshoot of my furniture design and fabrication. last year i had ordered some hexagonal birch plywood tiles for a game project i had been working on and i recently began using oil pastels on the leftover tiles, coloring them in shades of blue, violet and green.

4. these disparate sources combined into this final piece entitled: gilgamesh (11) utnapishtim. the box is sycamore and walnut and contains 25 birch plywood tiles colored with oil pastel on both sides and one glass bottle containing a black fluid. the box is meant to be opened and the tiles removed. the reader may lay the tiles out in whatever pattern they discover during the reading of the book, thus becoming the narrative. and the black fluid .... well i'll leave it up to you to discover its meaning.


Kate said...

That's beautiful! It makes me want to get my hands on it and lay out tiles, peer at the black liquid, stack everything back in the box...is it odd at all that this piece makes me think about children handling things they enjoy but don't know the purpose of?

^^^\ Kate /^^^

todd said...

thanks kate. i would agree with you about the non purposeness of the book, definitely make your own narrative

Darlene said...

visually well done!!