moving on to squonks

Posted: April 9th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Sukjong | 8 Comments »

It was a dark and stormy night.
On an unlit road…
On a small island in the Philippines…

I can’t explain it exactly, but the setting involves rain, volcanoes, darkness, and being stuck on a road in the back of a truck in the Visayas region of the Philippines. This is when someone told me about the manananggal.

Beautiful woman by day, half-bodied, bat-winged, fetus-sucking apparition by night, the manananggal lands on the roof of a house, sticks her hollow tongue through the thatched grass and into the room until it reaches the belly of a pregnant woman who is, of course, fast asleep, and sucks up her innards. The other half of her body is hidden somewhere for safekeeping, so that in the pre-dawn hours she can fuse back together and resume life as that beautiful older woman who lives down the road.

I wanted to know what the manananggal looked like. But I had no internet, and nothing was open. So I drew the manananggal myself. I asked the storytellers if I was anywhere near the truth. They made some encouraging sounds. But who knows? Drawing a mythical creature was much harder than I thought it would be.

The manananggal plays off some familiar archetypal anxieties. But however familiar, this did not take away from my visceral thrill at the fact that one body becomes two, or that one of them was a torso-less bottom half waiting in the dark.

Then I heard that there was a 2005 illustrated reprint of Borges’ Book of Imaginary Beings (the Manual de zoología fantástica). Someone borrowed the book for me from a library. But my edition had no pictures!

Now I feel condemned to draw them all.
But first, I got lost in all the prefaces. Borges explains (Figure A)*:

That is, Read the rest of this entry »


deer = landscapegoat

Posted: April 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Brian | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This post begins a series of ruminations on anthropomorphism, hybrid animals (such as amalgamammals), animism, dancing bears not affiliated with the Grateful Dead, and the panda-monium embodied therein. Let me start with a music video from OOIOO, directed by Shoji Goto.

The video clearly suggests that only through the death of the deer can the rest of the animal kingdom survive (to have a very crucial dance party). Of course, the increased presence of deer is indicative of sprawling human development that threatens their habitats. Deer hurl themselves in front of cars in suicidal fits of anomie, seeking the headlights at the end of the tunnel. One particular deer, after demonstrating interest in psychedelic mushrooms, foresees its own death, embodied in the hourglass symbology and the whistle-billed judasbird. After the deer dies and is resurrected, animals and non-animals may finally unite, stand on two legs, and play drums for the first time.