Atrahasis
2007

Single channel video
Running Time 2:18

This study presents the first section of Atrahasis Tablet I expressed through the lens of lighting and liquid.

The story of Atrahasis dates to before 4000 B.C.E. but the text that I performed was dated to a tablet found in 1650 B.C.E. The narrative as a whole begins with a creation story and then goes on to describe an elaborate flood story.

Through this sample I am investigating the origins of written language as well as the origins of a story that later evolved to be an important precursor to Genesis in the Bible. This text is formative in the study of religion as mythology.

My intent was to create a primordial environment where perhaps the gods existed before creation. The first elements introduced in creation stories are often light and water. To recall these elemental substances, the materials of liquids and focusable light where chosen to evoke connections between the cultural memory surrounding creation mythology and the viscerally of the imagery.

The aural component combines 2 parts: the spoken words and the chanted words. This process became important research for understanding how knowledge can be past and stored. Before written language, traditions were shared verbally, passing stories and information through generations of human relations. Interestingly, after recording the chanting layer of the audio, the words with the musical component stuck ferociously in my mind, much more so than the spoken text alone. Because the ancient text was performed like a musical language, the information was very well fixed into my memory, similar to ancient methods of story telling and rituals used to mass along information.

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