Building a Shrine

I believe that objects can possess spiritual energy. This umbrella is one of them. It is a Ghanaian Royal Umbrella and made for the kings and Queens. These are not just for shelter from the west African heat but function as symbolism. The artist designs and collaborates with the King/Queen and enriches it with contemporary and specific symbolism. T
The Royal umbrella is handmade with high-grade materials and depicts royal levels to the public.

I was fortunate to find an artist that makes Royal Ceremony umbrellas. The umbrella I have has the spirit of a Queen Mother. It is red with gold fringing. This spirit is present through the experience of building this shrine.

This week I have been changing this umbrella. I am transforming the umbrella into a shrine for the transgender deity I am envisioning. I will share the images at a later stage.

since we here no innocence

continuing to sketch > < continuing to sketch

visible roots left in the ground > < follow up for the tree

tabla tabla strings and vocals >

a call to recent studies >

video description: set to another Lollywood classic, this short clip splits the screen into two separate panels. Each one follows the camera movement from dead roots laid in the grass upward to a living tree and then up again to the blue sky – the movement is from grey decay to lush green and blue life. As the intro to the song finishes and the first vocal is about to drop in, the image pauses for a brief moment…two tabla-like images appear side to side. Both are rotating circles with an inner circle of a blackened wood texture, made to appear like the syahi, the central point of the tabla skin. Both rotating circles give the sense of vinyl records being played, with the outer ring on both circles featuring two distinct family images. One is of my two grandfathers sternly sizing each other up. The other is of my grandmother and her best friend sizing up the camera. As the song continues and fades out, the images are taken away by a burning line across the screen.

Radar

A radar visualisation with a neon blue line that scans the field of vision and dots that flash from red to green.

For a new online work, I’m creating a radar visualisation in which each of the dots will be assigned an image and text that reads ‘I AM NOT TARGET PRACTICE’.

The images that I’m hoping to incorporate are of cloud data centres run by AWS, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle. I took screenshots using imagery from the ESRI satellite and focused on the data centres in Virginia because it has the highest density of such places in the world.

I’m planning on overlaying these images with cloud satellite imagery so the view of them is partially obscured.

(Alt text for image gallery: satellite imagery of data centres, many are angular and white with fans mounted on the roof).

Voice Notes

Some Depressing voice notes

I was going to post my voice notes that I made to capture a tone I needed in the work I am making but actually, I dont want to share these with anyone until I am ready so I am not posting them all but Ill post one.

Im using my voice notes to try and process my feelings

IN LIMBO (ELD explored pt2)

Film audio description by Michael Achtman

This piece “IN LIMBO” is the second in a series called “Thought Experiment”, a place in the mind similar to a blank page ready to be painted. Where logic is left behind and I simply put pencil to paper and work off instinct till reoccurring themes seem to show up on the page through imagery, telling me what’s on my subconscious mind. The short film I made that documents the process of creating the artwork began to merge with the artwork as the project went on. As both were trying to figure out what the project was about at its core while simultaneously working on them in real time. Realising both were to do with the relationship between images and words was a revelation. And made me realise what I’ve always hated and loved about trying to explain art is that things always feel left unsaid. As I get older I try and embrace this more, realising that explanations always feel incomplete because I see art as a universal visual language that communicates ideas and emotions which words don’t exist for. This project made me realised that I want my artwork to encourage people to stretch their own creativity, similar to a Spot The Difference or Where’s Wolly does for children. I enjoy making the viewer read the drawings and try to see how the images relate and connect using their own creativity. Even if that means seeing interpretations that I didn’t initially mean to be there.

Clouds and surveillance

A series of images made by combining maps that show surveillance network Five Eyes locations in the UK and cloud optical thickness.

A satellite image plus patches of orange, yellow, blue, purple and green to show cloud density
UK: Five Eyes locations plus cloud optical thickness
More Five Eyes locations plus cloud optical thickness

The icon of the red triangle with the eye within it was the default setting in the tool I used to create these images. Note: to change in future.

Anointed Garments

As a way of communicating and accessing divine vitality, anointed Garments become a token, and their symbolism is vital to the experience of creating rituals. It is not only representation but the surface/platform for the divine to be present within the fabric and in this plane. These garments facilitate becoming a vessel for the creation of a brand new universe.

How do I create an anointed garment? Colour is key. Colour communicates various meanings in this process, white is the colour of the garment I am creating. White represents innocence, purity, light and authority. Creating anointed garments requires personal cleansing rituals, prayer/meditation, and the offering of self. As part of this residency, I will become the mediator for a transgender deity, and white is the colour called forth.

I began the process with a collaborator to design and create a garment for the mediator/vessel here on earth. These are the current sketches of the garment. Upon completion, it will be offered to the deity and prayed for.

This Valentino show served as a form of inspiration. These Garments are other worldly. I enjoyed watching this show.

Clouds and control

This week I’ve been experimenting with layering up cloud imagery and the control dashboards used within missile control centres.

I’d been thinking about the false premise that more data guarantees more clarity, something that James Bridle talks about in his book New Dark Age. It’s a premise often used to bolster the perpetuation of surveillance technologies. But as Bridle alludes to, more data also means greater complexity and increased potential for confusion and comprehension. It is an uneasy paradox that destabilises the idea that more data enables us to see more clearly, when the reality is more cloudiness.

We have likely heard or experienced the temptations of the ‘big red button’ – do not press, urging us to do the opposite. But I’ve also been thinking that even the existence of a button sets the stage for the following events. It is there so the temptation is to use it (this is one of the ongoing arguments against the likes of Trident). So my experiments this week also looked at the aesthetics of disappearing dashboard controls, blurring into this clouded vision.

The images of dashboards are released under a Creative Commons license by photographer Todd Lapin and show the control panels within SF-88, a former Nike missile base in the Marin Headlands, US. Nike missiles were anti-aircraft missiles often equipped with nuclear weapons between the 1950s and 1970s during the Cold War. Here is a link to the Creative Commons license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

The cloud videos are from a dataset created by the Multimodal Vision Research Laboratory (credit below) and also feature videos collected by Martin Setvak.

Cloud dataset credits: Jacobs N, Abrams A, Pless R. 2013. Two Cloud-Based Cues for Estimating Scene Structure and Camera Calibration. IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (PAMI) 35:2526–2538. DOI: 10.1109/TPAMI.2013.55, and Jacobs N, Bies B, Pless R. 2010. Using Cloud Shadows to Infer Scene Structure and Camera Calibration. In: IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR). 1102–1109. DOI: 10.1109/CVPR.2010.5540093.

i can flow with the feeling of the water

this work is a quick sketch >

it’s a rough work based on recent research >

< it also uses previous studies

the footage is taken from one mountain spring in the Harz >

suddenly any place where the water flows is a place I can imbibe with a sense of home/belonging >

bodies of water as liminal spots of belonging >

this work draws its title from lyrics in Mark of my Departure >

it is meant tobe funny >

video description: set to a classic Lollywood tune this video juxtaposes different images of flowing water in different shaped frames. The frames are sometimes overlapping, sometimes slowly elongating and are synchronised to reflect moments in the musical journey. The water is flowing from a small stream across grey-brown rocks flanked by some greenery and soft moss. The water is clear and the flow is strong.

As the beat drops and the tabla comes into full swing, two circular images are seen rotating on the screen. The two images are in the same style and both created in the same way. On the left is an image of my grandfather, reading a newspaper, looking away from the camera. His image is framed by a circular photograph of a chopped tree trunk. Using the same method, the image on the right has the chopped tree trunk frame with an image of my father and his brothers in it, all sporting the wild 1970s style of facial and head hair. The two images rotate continuously in the style of old vinyl before slowly fading out.

the tabla and dislocation pt. 3

more studies in chopping the tabla

An old circular photograph shows two stern, old brown men, in their 50s, both wearing glasses sizing each other up. Both are suited looking smart and they are both grandfathers of the artist. Obscuring the centre of the image is a perfect circle. It is filled with the texture of a chopped tree trunk but blackened to approximate the Syahi, the centerpoint of the tabla.

these are my two grandfathers surveying each other

This circular photograph contains the image of two 'almost smiling' women, looking softly at the camera with a lightness but strength of purpose.  It is the artists grandmother and her best friend. Obscuring the center of the image is a circle filled with the texture of a chopped texture but blackened to approximate the Syahi, the centerpoint of the tabla.

my grandmother and her best friend

MADE THE SYAHI

Using the image of the chopped down tree stumps, I fashioned the syahi for these tabla’d images, making the symbol of dislocation the central point of attention. Reversing the process from the previous studies, trying to be more direct in the tabla reference and combing through the family pictures. This process has reminded me that so much of this work is about building an archive for/of the family that reconnects the ancestral lineage severed by dislocation.

the tabla and dislocation pt. 2

studies in chopping up the tabla

The top face of a tree stump is photographed from above. At its centre is a perfectly round image of my grandfather reading a newspaper. The round image has its own outer ring of a separate darker brown trunk.
A perfectly round image of my grandfather with a ringed frame of a chopped tree trunk. This image is taken from the previous image and made larger to expose some details. These include the wooden wall of his house, the newspaper he is engrossed in and the sepia tint of his spectacles.
Another tree stump holds another perfectly round family photo. This tree stump has greying-green moss at its sides and a little on its cut trunk. The image at the centre is of my father and his three brothers. Their image is framed by another chopped tree trunk that is brighter and more yellow in colour.
A perfectly round image of my father and his brothers with a ringed frame of a chopped tree trunk. This image is taken from the previous image and made larger to expose some details. These include the wicked afro of my uncle, the fullness of three Pakistani moustaches and the intimacy of their holding each other.

studies in chopping up the tabla

these studies are produced by pushing family photos into images of chopped trees < these trees are located in the Harz Mountains in Germany where the bark beetle has destroyed local forests < amongst the decay and disease wild flowers and grasses < growback >

< the bark beetle is a kind of predatory invader to the forest < “nature” has its own forms of violent destruction < reoccupation of habitat < re-inscription of its role < colonialism >

< normally a tree would be able to ward off the beetle by producing its own resin < but increased heat and drought have weakened this defense < many trees are dying < many trees are being chopped down < chopping >

< roots in the ground remain as the wood is chopped and moved elsewhere> < chopping >

< the stump is a sign of this dislocation < a mark of my departure >

< the stump becomes the image of the tabla face < except it misses the syahi < the syahi is the blackened tuning paste in the center of the drum < the syahi is the pupil of the eye > < in the iris >

< in the iris < my father and his brothers < my grandfather alone < the generational split that I never knew < their relationship with the looking lens < the brothers facing the eye of the camera < the father lost in his work < neither looking at each other < both brothers and father >

< in my eyes >

< in my eyes < as I walk>

< at the rhythm and pace of a tabla>

< through the dying forest < and mystifying growback >

A living God.

Trumu Fetish
A 6:00min Cut of a 1hr performance
Alt text: A Black body covered in black paint.

A God realised. It was meditation to see the transgender God in space/reality. This is the beginning, where I create rituals for its appearance and movement in space. The black paint represents the Universe, a body that holds the planets and the stars and commands space-time. I understand my body as an integral part of this experience. I am interested in finding out: Am I in a trance as a vessel? How do I create transformation for other transgender bodies? How do I open myself to this present moment? I want to be consumed.

The God is nameless at this point; however, Trumu Fetish is the title for the experience of veneration.

A song by E B U. Listen to this while watching. I have added the lyrics too.

Take me back
To the silky black
The silky black of liquid sap
Slate and stone 
I feel at home
With space to roam 
This feels like home
Solace on a hill
Stones standing still
Standing proud
Out of the ground
Quietly
Watching me
Comforting
Company
So take me back
To the silky black
Take me back
To the silky black
Happy to be bound
By the embrace 
Of homeland

Written By - E B U

First Scene

So this is my second draft of the first scene of Episode 1


Sepp : Hey…looks like it’s just us.

June : Looks like it (giggles) 

Sepp : Did you enjoy the ceremony?

June : Hahha fuck no… these traditional meetings feel empty to me especially as they never include me. 

Sepp : Yeah…I know…they are wrong for that…you should definitely be front and center

June : front and center? I don’t think I want to be verified to that extent.

Sepp : well Maybe It would make me pay attention a little more …closely

June: ….oh and why would that make you pay a little more attention 

Their bodies are closer now, almost touching. Almost breathing on each other.

The sky cracks in half as the long forgotten voice of a lost GOD returns to earth.

The air began to resonate as it shifted through the atmosphere of carbon nitrogen and oxygen. The make up of life changed unbeknownst to anyone.




June : What the fuck was that? 

Sepp : (covering her head) Jesus sounds like the whole sky exploded.

June is already running to a window. There are a lot of murmurs in the bar.
June looks out the window but sees nothing

A few others who were in the room have also run to the window. 

No one says anything as they stare transfixed outside.

Sepp : (after catching up) Do you see anything?

Sepp comes close to them and holds their arm. It’s the first time they have touched all evening

June : (wrapping her arm under the waist of Sepp) No…but I feel like…(they look at Sepp and notice the anxiety on their face)…Hey are you ok?

The air was charged. Like a thick soup of static. As the voice wrapped itself around the planet and began to touch the ground the static rose on the skin of their backs. 

June’s hair was floating as though she was submerged in water.

Everyone looked at her but their hair remained normal. 

A buzzing sound could faity be heard.

June : It feels like I’m surrounded by electricity (they stop and listen)…can you..(they listen again)…do you hear something?

The buzzing sound gets louder.

Sepp : Let’s get away from the window.

The buzzing sound can be heard by everyone now. Although it had begun as an auditory experience, its frequency had begun to resonate within their bodies.



June sinks to the floor feeling a wave of nausea as their organs shake with the sound

June : Sepp I…I…

A pulse shook through the ground.

Sepp falls to the ground beside june.

The two bury their heads into each other’s shoulders.

They scream in unison as they expect the building they are in to fall in on them.

And then suddenly 

everything stops

June: Are you still here…

Sepp: I’m with you…im with you

Their heads rise to meet each others gaze.

They are only an inch apart

The other members in the room are all standing against the walls as if the pulse had not been felt by them.

Their gaze fixed on the two holding on to each other

They watch them in silence.



June : Sepp…

Sepp leans in whispering 


Sepp : Don’t leave me tonight


kissing June.

Understanding Shrines

West African traditional religions have pantheons of Gods.
Within these pantheons, there is a hierarchy. The supreme being is at the top, followed by deities, the ancestors, human beings, animals, plants and minerals. Our Spirit/Vital force is what connects us. There are not as many temples for the supreme being or the Gods; however, there are shrines dedicated to the specific deity. These Shrines have different purposes, but this is where the deity resides. Each shrine has a caretaker or caretaker and a priest who can communicate directly to and with the deity. We find shrines in mountains, rivers or seas, at the foot of a village or at the residence of a priest/priestess. Offerings of prayer, alcohol, food or money are given to the deity for goodwill, protection or gratitude.

What I find exciting is these enormous Pantheons still have unknown or undocumented deities. It is a platform for research and discussions on transgender deities and their place in Africa’s transgender society. What rituals safeguard and re-energise our vital force and connection to the spiritual universe? How can we hold spaces for those witnessing our transition? These are the questions I am working on.

MARK OF MY DEPARTURE

All work on my profile is orbiting this piece right here

These are the opening liner notes for MOMD. There are two images. They both share the same style; a black roti-textured background with bright pink text. On the first image, the text cascades down and reads ‘mark of my departure’ with each word in a different font. In the middle, across the cascade are the letters MOMD emblazoned large.

The second image has the same large MOMD across the middle. Above it is the track list. Which reads as follows:

mark one: water
mark two: melanogenesis
mark three: in the bazaar
mark four: ilford lane
mark five: be you

Underneath is a body of text that reads as follows:

MOMD produced, arranged and entirely composed by Allah SWT

features include Nusrat and company, the Chapparrals, whoever recorded that tabla loop, some random heads, Mufti Menk and that hilarious kid, Hamza Mohammed Beg and everyone who has ever interacted with us.

In the name of Allah the gracious and the merciful

I am greeted at the archway of my own work, stepping into it for the first time, hearing my voice drowned in the divine. All voices are dripping with it.

MOMD is a parting letter but I do not know to whom nor do I know where I am leaving to.

Those whom you guide none can misguide and those whom you misguide none can guide.

All of my research, writing and creative work for this program is trying to understand and expand on this that tumbled out of me >>>>>

Mistaken identities

Adversarial.io is a tool created to evade technologies of image recognition and reveal how differently machines and humans interpret images. Subtle noise added to images can completely alter how an algorithm will classify a photo, while in terms of human perception, there is little change to the original image.

I find it interesting in the context of my project because of the high confidence with which the M-10 computer declared its identification of the missiles (which turned out to be sunlight reflecting off clouds).

In my experiments, I gathered photos of nuclear missiles which, through such added noise, became sewing machines, freight cars, obelisks and totem poles in the eyes of computer vision.

Some of the nouns used to describe these missiles were quite obscure! I had to look up the definitions for: a stupa (a dome-like building usually containing relics and used for meditation), a barracouta (type of fish) and thresher (an agricultural machine for separating grains).

A grid of photos showing various nuclear missiles but which have been labelled as sewing machines, trailer trucks, obelisks and other names by an image recognition AI. The background is colourful and pixelated.

the tabla and dislocation

…the first musical instrument I remember touching was

[ the tabla in my uncle’s home ]


A screen shot of a google image search. The text in the search bar reads "the tabla in my uncle's home". The image results show a selection of different brown men playing the tabla.
this pair of beating eyes, bringing life
the touch of taut skin
flitting
flatting
frequencies
skimming
skipping
sentences of sound
there is no more desperate path out
                                                                                                      (of dislocation out)
than my divine desire to crop my fingers
fold them into pegs
to fling and to follow
to play play play

Un-tabla’d as I am, I dedicate my sound to learning about the music in me that already knows the rhythm of the tabla. This is the first section of Mark of My Departure. Speaking over the tabla loop here felt liberating. The image of the tabla is currently in my mind and everywhere around me all the time.

if you got the rhythm I can go with precision
i can flow with the feeling of the water
i can drop unexpected, drop like the t’s in the native speech it’s sorta
sorta slick with these thick lips flip syllables to spit am from L D N
but you can find me in the kiez by canal in the sun, in the rain, in the hail my friend
all praise due
all praise due
all praise due Allah
if i wanna manifest a blessing, my head be pressing the musallah

this language I hate it the colonisers tongue – not very fun
this language I love it, it’s the only one – well I guess that’s done

i can flow with the feeling of the water
cut through the border
what you gonna do with this bricks and mortar when the sea-levels rise
hoarder
that’s me though too much stuff
who come rough round the edges and bluffs
i can float in the cushioning clouds, pushing them bounds
kush and a crown

Shade of pink background. "A Meditation" at the top of the image. Below 10 Black and White images. A black transgender artist is in all these images. Names of body parts are in white in the middle of the images.
This Is My 2022
Acrylic paint, Sea water on Cotton Canvas. 40cm x 30cm.
Durational performance Art (Video)
Commissioned by Pyramidkofi

“This Is My” is a meditation for the body. A meditation that clearly defines the limits and the boundaries. Understanding these limits creates a space for spiritual exploration and an openness to being a vessel. Trumu Fetish calls for a body that is open to channelling multidimensional forces. These forces lay out a body for transformation; transformative artwork for the sin of patriarchy and masculinity.