Kavad 3.0

Well… I forgot to bring my work bag to work today, so it was rather an unproductive day. Except that…

  • We turned the design lab into the Homosote Gallery for a photography show of student work.
  • I gave my Latin examination
  • I did two review sessions
  • I taught some “magic as brain change system” to my Latin students
  • and I built version 3.0 (Version 1.0 and 2.0 here) of the Kavad I intend to build this summer (inspired by Suzanne Gaskell’s Kavad).  Video above, grainy and weird though it may be (prior data gained from experiments here).

I’m once again struck by how critical it is to know what story you’re trying to tell: without a clear sense of what part of the story goes on which leaves of the box, it’s impossible to determine how to to work up the images and intentions for the various sides of the box.  In this current iteration (which wound up being 9×15″, largely due to the limitations of the paper size I was working with), the box can tell a five-fold iterative story — one story painted (or carved, I suppose, or wood-burned) on the outside of the box; a second story on the front inner panels as they’re unfolded; a third story on the back inner panels as they’re unfolded, and then the ‘story’ of the innermost shrine space is story #4.  Story #5 could be told with objects in the lower drawer, and in the upper chamber inside the top lid.    If I were going to do a story about Hermetics, for example, or the Seven Liberal Arts, I’d probably want to figure out a way to add two additional chambers or zones within the box, so that there could be a story for each of the “seven governors”.

If I did a box based on my 7th grade early American history, though, five might work quite well:

  1. Pre-colonialism
  2. European contact and exploitation
  3. American Revolution
  4. Westward Expansion
  5. Civil War

And if I were to do one based on my Latin course for sixth grade, then five would also work quite well, because I’d do an arrangement something like this using my existing surfaces:

  1. Pronunciation & Alphabet
  2. Verbs: Present Tense, Imperfect Tense, Infinitive & Imperative
  3. Nouns: Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Accusative, Ablative, Vocative
  4. Adjectives and Adverbs
  5. Prepositions, numbers and conjunctions (doesn’t seem grand enough for the innermost chamber)

I suppose, as well, that it could be scaled back a little bit, with simply having the outward symbols of Freemasonry on the outside, and then having three inner layers within, dealing with Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason, with a simple “shrine” at the innermost part for the GAotU. It’s a potentially limited audience, though. Hmm.  To build it for a Christian audience (I’m thinking, in particular, Byzantine/Orthodox) the following schema could be adopted:

  1. Miniature icons on the outside of scenes from the four Gospels, flanked the four Living Creatures representing the evangelists and the four archangels, on the four sides of the box.
  2. The frontispiece, a series of icons of stories from the New Testament
  3. The rear panels, a series of icons of stories from the Old Testament
  4. Symbols of Christian virtues (I mean real ones, like Charity and Humility and Generosity, not low taxes and corporate freedom, by the by) framing an icon of the Nativity.
  5. pop-up panel of the Crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus, with some sort of drop-down of the Resurrection.

It could also be arranged around a mystery school’s program like Gardnerian Witchcraft or Feri by having only outer court symbols on the outside, and the progressive teachings or symbolism of the grades on the inner layers.   I think that Hermetics, as I’m getting it from Frater RO,  could be represented on this particular kavad in the following way without too much trouble, or adding extra layers of symbolism:

  1. The four elements, their angels, their kings, and (possibly represented with ‘prison boxes’ within, the devils)
  2. The Divine Poemander and the Aphorisms of Hermes.
  3. The Seven Governors, their seals and sigils and areas of rulership
  4. The chain of manifestation (or Tree of Life?)
  5. Table of Practice and Altar (on top or inside?)

None of these schemes are impossible, but they’re definitely ambitious.  There are, by my count, 46 distinct surfaces, and I have some thoughts about how to add in another half-dozen at least, possibly as many as 12-15 more (the drawer in the bottom, for example, could hold some parts of it.)  I say this not to discourage imitators, but to demonstrate the underlying challenge is not simply to build the box.   It’s also required to have a sense of what you want to say, using it.  I’m beginning to have a sense of what I want to say… but I DO wonder if my artistic skills are up to it, not merely to build the box, but to plan and execute the artistic program outside and in.

An architect friend of mine says that my next step is to build a “whitewood” model out of foam board, straight pins, and glue, without tape.  He says I should work out some of the construction details, and begin deciding on an aesthetic for the whole —brass hinges and screws, for example, or nails, or wooden pegs of differing woods…  Yikes.  Lots to think about.

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