The Encyclopædia of Fernal Affairs
THE GARDEN OF FERNAL DELIGHTS
When I first heard the word Fernal, it felt rich like a tropical garden, spilling over with life and lushness. Beautiful. Fernal did indeed feel like an appropriate word to describe the opposite of Infernal. I was surprised that it wasn’t in the Dictionary, yet.
In the opinion of Gromyko Semper, Bruce Rimell and myself, if there was a description for a Fernal Garden, it would read something like this:
“The Garden of Fernal Delights is a sublime and paradisiacal place where all the wonders of the natural world from the sexual to the surreal, the visionary to the instinctive, are celebrated as fundamental joys of being alive. The Garden is a multidimensional place where all is conscious and divinely intelligent from the animal to mineral to vegetable to the aetheric. This Garden of Delights knows no violence, no notion of original sin, no hierarchy, no fixed temporal system. Rather, it is a place of magic, of play and playfulness. It resides in the Garden of the heart and has no limit to its creativity.”
The Fernal concept was conceived by Gromyko Semper. His developing universe evoked the image of a contemporary ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ (by the 16th century Flemish painter Hieronymus Bosch). As Gromyko revealed his concept, we came to realize how many of our contemporaries were already Fernal. Whether lowbrow, visionary, surrealist, outsider, fantastic, or magic realists, the Fernal universe was already being expressed through fantastic landscapes and botany, surreal species and architecture, magically divine symbolism. It was so rich that I proposed to catalogue this co-created Fernal universe in an Encyclopædia. Thus the birth of this book.
Gromyko and I looked at hundreds of pieces of work and proposals and picked the most Fernal pieces we could find. Some artists made pieces specifically for the book.
Bruce Rimell rapidly found his way into the core of our Fernal fantasy. We became three to brainstorm, invent stories together and develop a foundation for the Garden. Bruce started writing songs and poems for the mythology of the Fernal Cosmos. He developed a working Fernal language which he explains in chapter W for Words. He has also translated all the titles and chapter introductions.
I designed the book with a structure for artists to add their magic. Twenty-one different artists did the illuminated letters. Gromyko Semper did the borders, and Michael Hutter did the illustrations for the cover. Many artists contributed text or worked with me to develop a text. Many gave Bruce and I carte blanche to write what we wanted. Including myself, we are 114 artists to contribute art and writing.
Delvin Solkinson, editor of CoSM journal of visionary culture, has helped Bruce and I edit-proof the book. He has added his professional and poetic touch, so that we can have a clean beautiful book for you to enjoy.
Otto Rapp, with his wonderful gift of networking, associated our project with his site Visionary Art Gallery. On the site I have a Fernal blog and a page which regroups all the important Fernal information.
“The paradox of Fernal Delights
is the equinox of the moment we understand and comprehend the failing and beautiful life forms around us. This grand compendium allows us to linger while our small minds catch up with the gush of liquid ideas caught for a moment on canvas. A powerful presentation.»
Ronald Edward Turner –
Publisher/Editor in Chief at
Last Gasp Publications
FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO FRANCE
For the launch in May 2015, Dimensional Holofonic Sound will host a Fernal Costume Ball with events including cabaret, music, video projections and live painting.
Bash Contemporary Gallery will launch the Encyclopædia and an exhibit of pieces from the book. They will also host presentations on the language and other conferences.
Full colour 245 page hardback book available for shipping in June 2015