Statments & Essays

Court of the Animal Gods

(circa 2003)

When I first unveiled the Court of the Animal Gods I felt it was imperative NOT to have a statement directly referencing the series. To explain away what is meant to be an unexplainable narrative would be somewhat counter productive. But as I move on to other projects, I would rather write this after statement for people to reference than continue to field questions.

I have always been fascinated with religious Parthenons and mythology. Greek Gods playing footsie with mortals, the native American coyote trickster stealing the moon, Catholic Saints enduring vicious tortures in order get closer to a higher power. I love the idea that there are greater struggles and intrigue occurring beyond our realm of knowledge.

So I decided to create my own Parthenon of Gods. I have composed these Gods out of a complete mix of random imagery taken from every day life. After all, that is what our world is composed of. Magazine clippings, family photos from Christmas, baby portraits, internet porn, these are all the familiar elements of our perceived reality. Now what if all these elements some how composed a puzzle that when put together exposed this greater picture, these greater beings.

I chose animals to represent my new mythology because they are familiar, We know them to be alive, they are sentient beings in our realm of experience (except perhaps the T-Rex) and they are completely unknowable (except perhaps the human) Not only that, but we have certain preconceived ideas about persona’s of different animals. And their mere physical appearance often makes humans assign expression and personality to them.

I wanted my visual drama to have a narrative, but not a contrived, prewritten one. I couldn’t directly try to tell a story in the picture itself. I feel to do so would drag the viewer through a linear path from one frame to the next. I want the viewer to know that there is a story occurring in these frames, but ponder what the narrative is. I’ve used the titles to plant the idea in one’s head that something specific is going on, then I let them try and make it happen from the images I’ve given them to work with. Instead of using numbers, I used book chapters and entitled each chapter with a vague insinuation of the drama.

Sniveling Goat presents an attempt at grasping the greater phantoms of peripheral meaning
Court of the Animal Gods: A Bedtime Story of Epic Minutia
As told by Robert Brown
Prologue: Trouble Brews in the Empire of Distraction
Chapter One: Insolvency, Ruination, The Potentate’s Fall
Chapter Two: Calamity Takes the Throne
Chapter Three: The Stumping Zoo Begins to Execute
Chapter Four: The Last Loyal Legions of Disbelief (Surrender at Childhood)
Chapter Five: The Vanquished Prostration of Id
Chapter Six: A Return to Alluring Myopia
Epilogue: Temperance, Resolution, Finale in Blue (Storyteller’s Lament)

This visual experiment has been the equivalent of sitting across from someone, handing them bag containing, a pencil, a candle, a fork, a rubber ball, a can of soup, and some paper towels. Then telling the person the sack contains a car and they must construct it. What I’ve discovered from past exhibits is that everyone steps up to the challenge. With completely different results every time.

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