|part 7: Room 59|
A sorcerer and his son (they might be introduced later) present their visitor (who as well could be introduced later) a drawing about their greatest secret. To be more precise, they draw the drawing in front of the visitors eyes. The act of drawing, the drawing it self, the speaking while drawing, the explanations about the secret and secret-ness generated in the very moment are the gift for the visitor. On the drawing, which we have in form of a printed reproduction, titled “the serpent and the worldhouse” lying on the table in front of us, we recognize what could be the depiction of an architecture in cross-section so as to make various objects inside visible. Four arrow headed serpentine lines rise from the building. Next to the building, three times taller, a slightly abstract representation of a snake, which, like the arrowed lines convolves upwards (towards the sky?). Its tongue is shaped like an arrow.
Individual parts of the drawing are numbered. The numbers connect to a list of notations in a (phonetic) transcription in the language of the sorcerer and his son as well as in the language of the visitor. This index was obviously written by the visitor’s hand, following the deliberations of the drawers.
Aitschin, house of Yaya, the fetish–Kashtiarts, the rainbow–Yerrick, the fetisch (Yaya)
Contemplating over the drawing, which intentional meaning stays incomprehensible for us despite a translation in the index, we’re unable to deduce the secret the drawing is supposedly revealing or explaining. We recognize the signs for things, the signs for relations between things, for actions, for process and something like a notation of time and we realize that we are confronted with a complex translation. Not only is a secret practice revealed to a non-member of the secret society of sorcerers practicing it (and is therefore translated from the language of magic, incarnation and ritual activity into signs and explanatory narratives) but it is also revealed to a stranger, a visitor from a foreign place and culture with a different understanding and use of signs and explanatory narratives. Before us lies not only the drawing about a symbolic practice but testimony, trace and product of long past equally shared activities of translation. If we want to participate in the secrets that were ciphered into the drawing, we have to activate the magic of the translation from practice to sign, from sign to reading the sign, from reading sign to the creation of signs that translate ones own practice. How does the secret enter the image?
The sorcerer, his son and the visitor are meeting in a hotel. One of the foundations of their collaborative magic translating activities is the site of their encounter. They’re meeting on the edges of their respective civilizations, between the ‘villages’, on a common ground, created mutually to let the meeting come into being. Important is their alliance, which allows them, for the period of their encounter, to have a status that is different from the status at their origin. At this temporary site, the participants are not who they were, but who the can only be here and now.
Even later, now that the site has vanished as the site of the encounter and became the hotel room again; now that the sorcerer and his son have returned to their own village and the visitor to his, the magic stays in virtue of the alliance active. The drawing, which the visitor will show to a public only thirty years later, the same drawing that lies in a reproduction on our table before us more then hundred years after its creation, carries, as soon as we actively join the alliance, to this day the contagiousness of an infection (which, by the way, can generate different secrets then tradition).