Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jogging With Roussel 19 (Part 2)

         The next day, Canterel, after working in his laboratory in O/x space during the early part of the morning, took a coffee break in the trans-temporal library where he was once again looking at the picture of “Le mystère et la menace de «je m'en fiche” in the volume ‘Dumb Fortune’ when Dr. Uyūshitan, a chlorlock mathematician friend of Canterel’s walked up, and noticing the image, and its title declared, “Gem and Fish, curious […] Ichthys, I care, I’m this[…] If you notice, the Ichthys symbol is a mandorla, and two equilateral triangles can be placed inside it with their tips in opposition, and their bases cognate rendering a gem of sorts..” “El Sage, O, a clue, lhooq” said Canterel smacking his lips, and making a popping noise. “You do see this green banner here, do you not, Dr.U.?” continued Canterel, “in me it produces a precise association, but one which paradoxically interferes with my interpretation of the rest of the image and story.” 

         “A zealonym of some interest I can tell,” said Doctor U. sitting down, and pouring himself a cup of Canterel’s excellent Columbian coffee. “The thing is, this banner echoes certain images of Nommo, the fishtailed bringer of civilization, a cosmological element of the Dogon people of Africa, but Dagon is a fish-tailed god which probably wasn’t really fish-tailed but became that way due to an interpretive element relating to a trans-indexical homonym, and in the same way, the story of this painting must’ve turned on a trans-indexical element contained in the faces of the characters which I am certain inspired one of that century’s most prescient Utopian experiments,” explained Canterel. “I thought that the Dogon’s Nommo, had been traced back to Oannes, a Sumerian deity,” said Doctor U. 

           “That’s another story in onomastics. Berossos, the Babylonian, and how apt is that, disturbed or mistook the name of Uan which was also Adapa to become Oannes, but it isn’t completely unrelated, as the image of the fish-tailed being is an iconological echo of a linguistic compound, found in the  word Abgallu, or sage, (Ab = water, Gal = Great, Lu = Man). Adapa was one of the seven sages, and it is said, that Adapa is a Sumerian cognate of the Hebrew Adam, but in his case, ‘the fall’ was not brought about by desire, but by the unsanctioned use of technology. And what is explicit, is that Adapa was tricked out of immortality by the gods for this, not ruined, or removed from ‘grace’ as in the Hebrew tradition..” “How wonderful,” mused Doctor U., “please, continue. What is the story of this work?” “It certainly is quite odd,” said Canterel, and he began to tell the story of Nathan Tinck:

          “Nathanael Tinck was born in Domme, in the Dordogne region of France in 1799 from a family descended from a single English deserter during the time of the Hundred Years War. The history of the family is sketchy, but from what I can gather they changed faiths often due to the perilous nature of the region. There is some sense though, that the family had somehow become involved with a crypto-socialist Knights of Templar sect centered around Domme.

 Nathanael Tinck immigrated to  Le Havre in 1818 to take up work as a cabinet maker, and to pursue his other dream as a painter and libertine, and Socialist Knight Templar. He read works by Nicolas-Edme Rétif, Goethe’s Italian journals, and especially admired the figure of Cagliostro, and by 1820 had painted the picture collected by Phillip Louis known as “Le mystère et la menace de «je m'en fiche” which it could be said, is one of the earliest examples of a truly symbolist French painting, in some sense. By the 1840’s, M. Tinck was traveling regularly to Paris, and was one of the members of Le Petite Cenacle, as well as the Club des Hashischins, and had even helped nurse poor Gérard de Nerval during one of his early breakdowns by taking him back to Le Havre to have him work in his cabinetry workshop as a means of occupational therapy, which was quite forward thinking for his time.

          At a certain point Tinck discovered the work of Étienne Cabet, and especially his ‘Voyage en Icarie’. This eventually led to his meeting Cabet and founding a small ‘Society of Icaria’ in Le Havre where the group finally departed from in 1848 in order to begin a Utopian community in North Texas, in southern Denton county, near what is today, Justin, Texas. The land had been contracted by Cabet from the Peters Real Estate Company. But upon arriving at the site in late May 1848, the settlers found that only one-tenth of the anticipated land was available and that even that fraction had been allotted in noncontiguous half-section plots. Moreover, they found that they were also required to construct a house on each of their half-sections by July in order to obtain title to the land. Working feverishly to complete this mission, Tinck became disillusioned and ill, and finally died with malaria, his painting eventually becoming the property of M. Cabet. An odd detail is the fact that Tinck painted ‘Le Mystere’ before he had ever actually seen Cabet, and it was this fact that had led to his conversion into one of the founding Icarians.”

          “But what of the question of the green banner?” queried Doctor Uyūshitan. “Come here tomorrow, Dr. U., I’ve a few experiments which require tending, I’d be delighted to continue!” said Canterel as he buttoned his old blue lab coat and headed off toward the matrix of temporal portals carrying the beautiful book under his arm.

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