∞ The Stranger ⊥
"One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star." Friedrich Nietzsche
An outsider arrives and makes us question things we'd always assumed true. Ideas from distant places become suddenly relevant and useful. We cannot do this alone, we need help from people who aren't like us. Seek out and listen to people with different experiences and opinions. Things will never be the same again, and it is up to us to welcome this strange future into our lives. "Smile at a stranger. See what happens." Patti LuPone.
Find ways to see your world from the outside. Question everything and look at what has been holding you back. It is time to see things in new ways. Turn your questions upside down. Do something each day that frightens you, because that is what will expand your horizons. find new languages to communicate with others. Explore opposites. Complicate then simplify. Incorporate as many influences as possible before editing
Moon (Light) Be artistic. Play creative games. Communicate in unusual ways. Shine in the dark.
Cloud (Water) Relax the old rules. Blur the edges and let things go out of focus for a time.
Note (Air) Sing. Write poetry. Share music. Find new strange songs. Explore new vibes.
Clock (Fire) Unexpected timing. The element of surprise. Strange coincidences. Unforeseeable.
Key (Earth) Unlock the door. Open the mysterious box. You hold the key to miracles.
Gargoyle (Dark) The dark forces of chaos or ignorance. Stop being held back by a fear of the unknown
THE MAGIC SEAL
Stranger is the last card of the deck, but the first one that I created, so it was the first to have seen the light. I based the style and palette of all other cards on this one, and more importantly, it was with Stranger that I experimented different ways of merging photography with illustrations, eventually finding the specific technique that I then used for all the cards.
It shows a Victorian London partially hidden by a white cloud of fog. The houses are bending rhythmically like waves, opening to let The Stranger come in. The mysterious figure bends the elements of the cards with his presence, projecting a deep long shadow up to the sky. Originally the cards showed the famous Big Ben, subsequently replaced by the pendulum clock. This is the only card where the Great Seal of Oracolarium appears, up in the sky, like a constellation shining on the city below.
The Stranger is a mysterious figure, he brings new ideas and a bag full of secrets into the sleeping city. He is an agent of change, he shatters the old order, creating the chaos from which the new will rise. The video is based on the dichotomy of opposite forces and values: inside/outside, new/old, native/foreigner, good/evil. Thus we see the city from outside and from inside a shop window. Fear and resistance to the change brought by The Stranger is represented by a monstrous figure, excitement and freedom are symbolised by the white clouds running across the sky... The Stranger is a neutral figure, outside our moral judgements, beyond all opposites, beyond time and space.
I decided to use clouds as an element in this animation as an homage to “I Draw Clouds” a magic show by Neil Kelso who appears in this card.
Neil Kelso is co-creator of Oracolarium, he appears here as The Stranger. As an artist, writer, storyteller, musician and magician he travels around the world collecting ideas, sharing rituals, and connecting worlds. Very often his duty as an outsider when he comes to town is to bring strange new stories from beyond the horizon. He encourages audiences to see the world with new eyes, and to embrace the mysterious.
In his bag of tricks, Neil Kelso carries his mysteries. Does he have answers? Or does he bring with him questions? Only time will tell. Are you ready for the unexpected?
A stranger comes to town. Could that be the same bluesy jazzy ensemble from Deception are now playing in a smoky old saloon in the wild west? The midnight hangout of the town's ne'er-do-wells. What kind of changes will this stranger bring about? Are outlaws always bad? Is the status-quo always good? A change of perspective that turns the perceived Truth upside down. Who can you trust? Can you trust your instincts? Who will bring about change? Will it be you?
LINKS TO GO DEEPER
To explore a powerful stranger, check out V for Vendetta (the graphic novel is amazing, as is the movie adaptation): Click here to watch the trailer on YouTube.
What if The Stranger is a little bit ... Devilish? Read the amazing The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov.