Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Airborne Leviathan?

Posted by Alpha Auer

Half seal, half whale - or maybe some other mythical hybrid creature which emanated from archetypes residing within the imagination of Feri Beckenbauer, looms over the sky of the sim Beckenbach.

This is a really wonderful structure housing a shop of fantasy/cyberpunk apparel beautiful enough to make me drool over most of that I saw on display.

While seeming to be ominously hermetic from the outside, the construct turned out to be surprisingly spacious and un-claustrophobic once inside due to the split ceiling.

Very beautiful, 3D display of merchandise. Why don't more apparel designers do this I wonder?

A gaggle of birdlike annexes follow the creature... Claws made out of giant propellers, a befitting entourage...

Creative output, the roots of which lies in archetypes has always held a particular fascination for me. Indeed, as Joseph Campbell has already shown us in his studies, sometimes I wonder whether our human imagination, bound as it is in a collective subconscious which seems to have spun the same myths over and over again regardless of geographic and chronological dispersion, can ever fully step outside of what is archetypally relevant. And when it comes to the generation of a true act of imagination, as Feri Beckenbauer's wondrous creature shop seems to me to be, I cannot help but start thinking very much along these lines:

Despite its airborne quality this creature has predominantly aquatic attributes, such as fins rather than wings. Consequently it reminds me of Leviathan, the Biblical sea creature which has become synonymous with any large sea monster. In Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick the term Leviathan refers to great whales. Partly due to this influence, Leviathan has come to be associated by many with the sperm whale. There is Walt Disney's depiction of Pinocchio's being swallowed by Monstro, a sperm whale and then of course there is the story of Jonah who is miraculously saved from the consequences of a sea accident by being swallowed by a whale where he spent three days and three nights, at the end of which, following God's orders, the creature vomited him out at the shore. And then of course there are all the numerous references to Leviathan ranging from Milton's Paradise Lost, where the creature is symbolic of Satan, to the words of Puck in Shakespeare's Midsummernights Dream.

For me, humanity bypassed a huge opportunity of self exploration through the means of visual creativity when it took a wrong turning on the path during the mid 20th century, choosing the follow the route of realistic rendition in Surrealist art. True, there did remain the odd hardcore contentual surrealist like Max Ernst, but for the large part the display of craftsmanship took over from the investigation of archetypal subconscious content, resulting in a mass of maudlin and trite, if not borderline sentimental output gathered under the heading of Surrealism. And now, here in Second Life®, I am daring to hope that this past error may be rectified. Maybe not so much in the form of "high art", although there is some hopeful evidence of that as well, but certainly in the emergence of design output that truly seems to be looking at archetypal content which is usable - making the whole self-investigative adventure even more dramatic, even more immediately accessible and powerful. We do not merely look at archetypes, we become immersed, in fact we become archetypal characters ourselves.

Feri Beckenbauer's giant airborne hybrid creature would seem to me to constitute a primary example to this. Unselfconscious imagination, yet ever so subtly evoking a millennia old, ever present, omnipotent archetype?


You can teleport to see the creature shop housing Beckenbauer Productions directly from here.


Nebulosus said...

Feri is an amazing builder, and it yet so modest that so many people aren't aware of his immense building talent -- Feri rocks!!