What Is This That Stands Before Me? Figure In Black Which Points At Me

Once again, I've been absent because it's fall and that's the time I most want to be outside doing things. Last weekend I went to the Keene, NH pumpkin festival which is a totally over the top Wicker Man type celebration with a HUGE towers and racks and racks of jack-o-lanterns (the official count this year was 22,949).
Annnnyyyywayyyyy what I've been working on is the aforementioned Video Violence group show which will be on display during Exhumed Film's 24 Hour Horror-thon next week. The idea was to redesign or alter packaging from a cult vhs video and I chose Haxan. I opted to make a completely new package. Haxan is amazing for so many reasons. It's silent and came out in 1922 but is way ahead of its time in terms of subject matter and has some of the coolest most brilliantly stylized effects. In addition to having tons of really cool (and at the time shocking) imagery related to European witchcraft at it's heart the message is a warning against religious hysteria and superstition and presents a case for scientific thought and reason. So best of both worlds really! I recommend the Criterion version which has the original film with its score and a later edited down version called "Witchcraft Through the Ages" with a jazz score and narration by William Burroughs (this is actually the version that my video is).

The idea for me was to design something that looked like the kind of case a film that came out in 1922 would come in (not to get all steampunk on you) and to make something that looks like a grimoire. I found a wooden jewelry box that was shaped like a book at a craft store (where I actually find tons of cool wooden objects like the crosses from my show).
I hacked the drawer off the "spine" and cut a piece to put inside so the video would rest flush with the spine when it was in the box and then stained it and did the painting directly on the wood. Here are a billion pictures:

The picture on the tape is actually salvaged from the original box. The closures are some velvet strips which attach over the spine with velcro, and the spine can be removed to access the vhs inside. Overall, I'm really excited how it came out though it's maybe embarassingly over the top. Painting directly on wood was a little tricky but I just kind of worked through it and accepted that it might not look perfect. Anyway Watch Haxan, and go check out the show!

Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horror-Thon @ The International House
3701 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA

P.S.- R.I.P. Ari Up


kati said...

I wanted to like this all passively on facebook but then it crashed so here is a legit blog comment letting you know that this kicks ass and you did an amazing job!

J.Gray said...

Holy shit. I want a turn of the century book collection, just to put this in the midst of. This is awesome.

pw! said...

this is absolutely stunning