Jivan Astfalck - Rosa Rubea Homuncula
Twice Upon A Time: Magic, Alchemy and the Transubstantiation of the Senses
Conference held at the Centre for Fine Art Research (CFAR), 26-27 June 2014
Keynote: Jivan Astfalck: Rosa Rubea Homuncula
Within the area of metaphorical symbolisation I am interested in Jewellery pieces that map out the demarcation lines, where body meets world, a place, or idea of a place, where narratives are invested in objects with the aim to negotiate that gap, complexity, confusion or conflict in relation to private and subjective mental experience. My aim is to achieve an imagery of the unconscious and address symbolisation by using metaphoricity to cross-map emotional investments conducive to creative articulation and representation.
Rosa Rubea Homuncula references the making of a fictional and mythologised entity with its variety of possible combinations and compositions; it refers to the madness of the artist to make something living or at least something which has the ‘the power’ of affecting life. The making of the ruby, the making of a homuncula, the tenuous on/off clipping of decorative elements and the transitional magic of a wearable object where some of the passionate projection is situated in the construction, the design of the object.
In 1510, Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim writes the first book of his De Occulta Philosophia, a synthesis of Christianity and magic, inter woven with neo-platonic mysticism. He sets out to develop a methodology through which he aims to capture the energies of ‘higher’ worlds, with the aim to affect the ‘lower’ (for him not at all a god-less doing). He designs sigils to attract/capture angels and ban/capture demons, Christian figuration of duality, signifying energies outside of human control and in this context not forces of nature, but of morality and power. Agrippa explores systematically the design development expedient to create objects, which affect life and if believed, are living objects.
In The Hermeneutics of the Subject Foucault talks in ‘one, 6 Jan 1982: first hour’ about ‘the care of the self’ and its modern replacement ‘self-knowledge’. A the end of his lesson he focuses on what he calls ‘spirituality’ and goes on to say “that for the subject to have right of access to the truth he must be changed, transformed, shifted, and become, to some extend and up to a point, other than himself”, and later he says “eros and askesis are, I think, the two major forms in Western spirituality for conceptualizing the modalities by which the subject must be transformed in order finally to become capable of truth”.
In Sometimes a Great Notion the 13th episode in the fourth season of Battlestar Galactica, Starbuck (Kara Thrace), accompanied by the cylon Leoben, is looking for the beacon, which had led them to Earth. They find the wreckage of a fighter plane with a charred corpse. Starbuck rips the dog-tag necklace from the corpse to discover her own name and a sigil of an angel. Kara asks, "If that's me lying there, then what am I?"