museum exhibits as characters in a narrative
This was a pretty awesome project. We had to walk through the MFA, pick out 3-5 pieces or exhibits we liked and use them as characters or key elements in a story we’d invent for them, and tell through drawing.
My three characters were a Rorschach-style ink blot from a sheet of them by Bruce Connor (“All in a Garden”), a tiger thing from the neck of a 13th century Chinese funerary jar, and a big limestone tomb doorway from 8th Century China. I’ve got a soft spot for the little guy (who doesn’t?), and doofy or badass animals, and almost always think rock structures are awesome. So these were pretty solid choices.
I took home my sketches and my thoughts and began to formulate some ideas. Only semi-consciously, I built a very Pixar-ish storyline around these guys, and came up with the following:
ORIN the evil ink blot always wanted to be known, and being evil was the easiest way to do that. His size, however, has often proved a problem.
He hears about a magical cavern that will grant your deepest wish: give you whatever you want. Convinced it will help make him bigger, he decides to travel to the cavern. But to do this, he needs help.
ORIN comes upon a traveling market and meets TUB, a cat-demon distantly related to old gods of the East.
All TUB ever wanted, growing up traveling and without any friends outside of the circus, was to stay somewhere, and learn how the place worked. Since he isn’t allowed to leave his captor, ORIN promises to free him if he, in return, helps ORIN on his quest to the cavern. TUB agrees, and they escape.
Tasked with carrying ORIN and his things, TUB often grows tired, and there is much contention between the two as they travel. TUB asks many questions, curious about everything, fulfilling his dream of friends he didn’t grow up with by spending time with ORIN. His constant questions annoy ORIN to no end, and he attempts to stop it by oozing into TUB’s mouth and coating his teeth.
ORIN wakes up one day and TUB is gone! He freaks out and cries. TUB comes back, doofy-looking, out of breath, happy and with food. He asks what’s wrong but ORIN shrugs it off, jabbing at him for not saying where he went.
ORIN takes the meat and cooks it simply, but it blows TUB’s mind. He’s found a new friend he’ll always remember.
ORIN needs TUB, but this only increases his mistreatment of the tiger. Pride sucks, but he’s on a mission. He tries hunting on his own, but he just doesn’t have the instincts. He can’t collect water without leaking into it, and he’s still too small to travel on his own.
TUB doesn’t say anything, he just keeps helping. Eventually, they arrive at the cavern. ORIN walks right inside. Nothing happens. He looks around, confused, yells at the cave to help him; but nothing happens. TUB peeks in, asks if he’s hungry. ORIN sulks as he leaves the cave, completely disheartened, for dinner.
TUB asks bashfully if ORIN could make the meal he made the other night. ORIN freezes, scowls, shrugs it off, and then takes the food and begins to work, a smile slowly forming on his face as TUB babbles in the background.
After the original presentation (images 4-11) we were tasked with compressing the whole narrative into 3 frames that would tell the whole story. My three were sort of compilation images, very movie-poster-like, a sort of collage of moments from the story that would hopefully communicate the majority of what was going on.
I got very good responses on all of this. And coming up with a full, simple but fun story was really fun. Just typing this up was fun . I forgot I couldn’t use text, so I had to re-draw 4 frames, so there are a few rejects thrown in there that were the original frames. I like both versions differently.