Archive for isis


Posted in Conceptual Art, Mystical Experience, World Myths with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 14, 2012 by javedbabar

It was the second season of the old quarry’s projection project. The first season’s experiment had gone so well that The Authority had changed its zoning from community use to commercial operation and approved a $10 million investment. Sophie’s business plan stated the operation would break even in Year Five.

She now had one hundred digital projectors, fibre-optic cabling, dynamic event lighting and a ten-man production crew. The project also had a new name, QARY, and an associated logo with the tails of the Q and Y joining. It reminded Sophie of a Viking boat.

They could now stage more ambitious shows, such as the myths and legends she had dreamed of since childhood. Sophie had somehow known this would happen. She had fainted upon first entering the quarry, and from that moment onwards the real and imagined seemed intertwined.

A resident of Lucerne came to see her. Hello handsome, she thought.

“I am Ahmad, I come from Egypt,” he said. “Before the revolution I worked as an archaeologist. I would like to be involved in the QARY project, and as the first show of this season may I suggest Osiris?”

“I was thinking of Percival,” she said. “I have always liked the Grail stories.”

His eyes lit up. “Me too, but Osiris is God of the Underworld. He is a perfect fit for QARY.”

“That’s a good point. Do you want to join the production team?”

They spent the next week fleshing out the story. Many versions of the Osiris myth are scattered through the ages. He is God of the Dead, a merciful judge, an underworld agency granting the power of life, responsible for sprouting vegetation and the Nile’s fertile flood. Better stay on his good side, thought Sophie. We don’t want a repeat of the Lucerne Valley’s 2004 inundation.

Sophie and Ahmad collected texts, made recordings, and conducted negotiations to license images. The rest of the production team worked on structure and flow. It took a month to pull it all together. Sophie held her breath on the first night, and also Ahmad’s hand. They were a team now, both on and off set.

The crowd smiled as the good god Osiris travelled the world spreading maat, righteous order. They tried to warn him that he was about to be tricked by his evil brother Set, and shouted, “Don’t get into the chest!” They cried when the chest was sealed and thrown into the Nile, the watery mood enhanced by blue lighting. There were cheers when Isis found the coffin stuck in a tree in Byblos, and quiet during the corpse’s mummification, enhanced by overwhelming white light.

Osiris’s magical reanimation led to many  “Ah’s” and “Wow’s”. They grinned during Horus’s miraculous conception, and someone shouted, “That stiff is really stiff!”

Isis stored Osiris’s body in a swamp. The audience was horrified when Set found the body and chopped it into fourteen pieces, and red light poured down the walls. There were smiles again when his body parts were gathered and buried, and he became an underworld god.

The production was flawless. Sophie breathed out.

The second week, someone in the crowd became hysterical. His screams drowned out the commentary for a while. The next morning the cleaner found chunks of meat scattered. Bloody kids hunting again, he thought, leaving meat out for the wolves.

Sophie wondered where Ahmad had gone. Maybe he didn’t like the way the show had turned out. Or maybe he didn’t like how she was turning out. She wondered if he had managed to have that profit-share meeting with her CEO. Surely that would be a brutal encounter.


Ten Views of Mum

Posted in Conceptual Art, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2012 by javedbabar

Alex had been forced by The Authority to mix adults and teens in his PIA: Philosophy In Art class. This could get complicated, so he’d decided to keep things simple.

After an introduction to Japanese artist Hokusai, famous for his series of one hundred, thirty- six, and then ten more, views of Mt Fuji, the class had agreed – or at least not disagreed too strongly – to take ten views of various topics.

“Welcome to class,” said Alex. “I’m delighted to see that most of you have made it back. We could have done thirty-six views of things, one each! But you opted for ten views. So who’s first?”

A girl said, “What’s the topic?”

“Ah yes, the topic. Hmmm…” Alex kicked himself. Why hadn’t he prepared something? How stupid. “The first thing I can remember in life is my mother. So let’s start with that. Who can tell us something about their mother?”

“Are we going to draw her?” said the girl.

“Maybe later. Right now I just want you to use your imaginations. Think of as many kinds of mothers as possible.”

The adults were holding back for some reason; they were leaving it to the teens. More precisely, to the girl.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Okay, I’ll start – a mother is a woman who has given birth to a child.”

The girl made a face, others did too. “Why do you need to tell us that? Mothers are just mothers.”

He felt strongly self-conscious. Did these teens respect their mothers? Would some soon be mothers themselves? Why didn’t the adults say something? Were they scared of looking foolish? He’d known it was a bad idea to mix adults and teens.

“A mother is someone who has raised a child.” It was a boy at the back speaking. “I was adopted at birth. I don’t know my biological mother. Mother for me is the woman who fed and clothed me, and rubbed my knees and elbows when I fell in the street.”

A man in his forties said, “A woman can become a mother by donating her eggs, which are united with sperm and implanted into another person’s womb. It was the only way my wife and I could have children.”

“I was suckled by a wet nurse,” said an overdressed woman; she seemed to be a present to herself in yellow wrapping. “My own mother dried up. The wet nurse was a mother to me too.”

“Are grandmothers also mothers?” asked a boy. The class giggled and he looked down.

“Of course they are,” said Alex. They are…”

“I was raised by a stepmother,” said an old man. “She was a horrible woman, always cruel to me. She said that if I ever told my father, she’d tell him to send me to an orphanage.” This made everybody sad.

“We eat the lush fruits of Mother Earth,” said a woman that Alex knew was a poet. “Gaia gives us all.”

“In mythology there are mother goddesses – Hera, Durga, Amaterasu, Isis, Kwan Yin…”

“And don’t forget the Holy virgin – Mother of God!”

A boy shouted out, “My mother is a lesbian and recently got married, so now I have two mothers.” Everybody agreed that he was very lucky indeed.

Near East

Posted in Global Travel, Mystical Experience, Unknown, World Myths with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by javedbabar

“Can we go this way?” said Isis.

Osiris stopped on the edge of the bridge, where a path ran along the river. He remembered when he was a kid. Lucerne was just a clutch of farms and stores, and there was no bridge over this road, at least not one you could drive across. It was just a sham wooden structure that a farmer had nailed together so he could hop into town. The bridge was a short cut to their community centre – the modern glass structure known as the Transparent Temple.

Osiris wondered why she wanted to take the long way around. It was funny that so many people in Lucerne had ancient names, particularly Egyptian ones. Their parents must have been hippies, fascinated by Pharaonic lore. He recalled a book near his mother’s bed called Pyramid Power.

He said, “Sure love. Are you in the mood for a longer walk?” The past three months had been the best of his life. Meeting Isis had rocked his world. She was everything he’d wanted – pretty, funny, smart, cultured and spiritual.

“I prefer the scenic route,” she said. “Let’s walk along the river, then through the fields. We can go through those new houses and enter the back of the Temple.”

“Okay love, let’s do that.” Osiris was so used to doing things his way that whenever Isis expressed a differing preference, his instinctive response was to reject it, but this was followed by curiosity so intense that he agreed to her request immediately. And he found that most of the time her way proved better. If he had to pin a number on it he’d say that she was right seventy-five percent of the time. When he’d explained this to his best friend, the friend had been incredulous. “What? You reckon she’s right seventy-five percent of the time? That can’t be possible!”

“Why not?” Osiris had said. “She’s a clever woman.”

“But you are more clever, my friend. If you are right twenty-five percent of the time, and you accept that she is right seventy-five percent of the time, then that makes you right one hundred percent of the time!”

Osiris and Isis held hands and followed the river east. Its flow was higher than usual. This must be because of early warm weather melting snowpack, whose waters poured into rivers running through the Lucerne Valley. The snow levels on both Mt Alba, rising above the village, and Mt Negra, one hundred kilometres away at the source of the valley, were rising up their respective slopes. Imagine being the last snowflake, he thought, disappearing.

It was a pretty crazy route for such a small river. It twisted and turned, looping back on itself at one point, plunging into pools, and braving small waterfalls. It was said that the first man to find Lucerne had floated along this river. He had fought and escaped his enemies, and been aided by crocodiles and buffaloes. He had climbed out when he had seen the White Mountain and made this his home.

The river continued through green fields. When this first man became old and feeble, he was killed by his descendants and buried in these fields, and from his head sprouted potatoes, his slim arms became carrots, his plump thighs produced beets, his brains made garlics, his lungs produced hemp, and from his manhood grew the first banana.

They came to new houses. The original houses had been built by the first man’s descendants, who became a prosperous tribe. Their wealth had attracted roving bands of hunters, who looted them annually, just after harvest, raping and pillaging and leaving their mark – mixed-blood children, who became present day Lucerne’s inhabitants.

Beyond the village was wilderness, like the original chaos before the first man.

Isis clutched Osiris’s hand harder as they neared the Transparent Temple. It was the heart of the village. Government officials met in Room One to set village strategy. Business leaders met in Room Two to discuss the local economy. Village councillors met in Room Three to promote political agendas. Artists met in the bar to discuss cultural grants and collaborative works. Holy men and women met on Saturdays to promote the memory of the divine founder of their settlement, the first man, called Osiris.

On Saturdays they served falafels, which legend said were first made by Coptic Christians. Pha la phel means “of many beans”, as the Church was formed of many souls, all rolled into one Great Soul. People united by The Authority.

Osiris and Isis were greeted by the Supreme Guardian of the Transparent Temple. He was a crippled, olive-skinned man called Seth. He cast a mean look at Osiris, but winked at Isis. Seth knew it would soon be time for him to regenerate and to leave this chamber, chase out Osiris, marry Isis, and begin the creation cycle anew.