“Somewhere between life and death there lies a desert. A symmetrical vision vexes the horizon to abnormal unescapable recurrence. Beasts, both small and large, attend to its desolation.
No man walks unfathomed; The measure of life resonates to every step.
Time in the desert is a mere construction of our thoughts, an attachment to what was once regarded in breath the benefit of life.
A single figure joins the horizon. Closer now, the man runs. His clothes in rags but to a perfect fashion and total efficiency. Twice one needs to eye in order to distinguish his presence from his surroundings.
The man is known as “the Squire.”
He stops abruptly positions himself low in the ground. Something in the distance has caught his sight. His parted lips whisper: Lazaro. The faint pulse of summon travels unhindered to speed the way towards the image at the distance.
Piercing eyes now turn towards the incoming sound, acknowledging to pray whoever has dared voice in such a place.
It is Lazaro: he who has mastered the causeway that lies between life and death. “
Above: Image: Jacob Logos, text Felix B.Q. Initial words from the treatment for The Book of Lazaro: Book 1 "The wasteland," an illustrated book to be created in collaboration with Australian artist Jacob Logos.
Work for the Book of Lazaro is currently being subsequently developed towards a VR experience.
The desert. The Squire, trails behind the elusive Lazaro, known to the region as the Monk King, a quickened trickster bridge to resurrection. Lazaro's spirit leads the Squire into a city castle; the foldings of time; the produce of imagination and desire; to find in an abandoned temple his latest remains. A fire still burns. The path to life is one of profound love, the Squire will embody the very threshold of rapture and beauty to the essence of miracle.
This original creation spawns from the work done for ¡Lazaro! during touring in Argentina and Uruguay back in 2010. Jacob, present during most of the tour, created a number of sketches (below) and spent time on the streets spreading art with JAZ. Since then, the intention of generating a fully illustrated book shot towards a distant horizon.
Today this intention takes form. A first written draft for a proposed structure is in place, with the vision to expand into several books. Characters surface dreamscape and extreme activity. Every element produces erosion and confrontation. The way of the desert ever present in subconscious transformative prowess.
The desert is also mediating place between extremes: icy cold by night and torrid hot by day. The desert plunges, infuriates, accelerates. It is exodus and testing. It is a real and fantastic symbol of death. And, thus, life anew, resurrection.
In its extremity the desert becomes a symbol: "The external desert symbolises the desert within, loneness and abandonment. The arid land refers to the fallen world in hopes of redemption. The arid land hopes to become an orchard. " Marie Madeleine Davy.
In our not so ancient history, the essenes and therapists also healed soul aches and mental derangement as hermits in the desert. Vastness purified the evils of civilisation. Fourteenth century historian Ibn Khaldun speaks of the supremacy of URAM BADAUI on the URAM HADARI, the life of the Bedouin (he who thrives in the desert) - ascetic, moderate and sober – above the life of the city dweller – dissipating, excessive, unnatural.
Santiago de la Voragine, in his Golden Legend (late medieval), depicts the world as a vast web of tangled threads. "Who can untangle this?" asks San Antonio. "Humility." The desert shows us more than any topography, this humility. In the desert all is one and one is none.
It is also a geographical space in which everything is possible: violence, fascinating fantasy and broad emptiness. John Martin, Moebius (Jean Giraud), George Miller, amongst so many, have left us vast layers of imaginary information. But there is always a sense of awe and spiritual atonement in the vast landscapes of emptiness where land and sky become one in a sacred mirror.
The "Apophthegmata Patrum" is a popular collection of wisdom stories describing spiritual practices of early 5th century desert monks. The followers of St. Anthony the Great in the Thebaid desert were called the Desert Fathers and Desert Mothers. Writer Mario Satz expands the meaning as he refers to the Desert of the Thebaid: "What you remove from a point in the desert comes to settle in another within their boundaries, and both detraction and deposition, have an activity infinitely more alive than in our climates. Nowhere are the destructive forces capable of scratching at the surface than the desert and in such typical forms."
Geomorphology describes the desert as of "lacking water evacuation." There is no wonder that the most important definition of paradise in sacred desert scripture is gardens watered by running streams.
The most important transformative aspect in the desert, beyond the scorching sun, is the wind. RUAS for the Hebrews, the RIS for the Arabs, is a synonym for the word spirit. Thus there is in the Book of Lazaro a significance in such a transformation that touches the void of our essence and existence. It has a pneumatic quality. The Greeks, referred to the holy spirit as "pneumatic tu hagiou." And as we can understand, PNEUMA, anima or soul is also derived from wind. It is the wind that provides for the most important change in the region's existence and the value of what we call life.
Yet the Book of Lazaro canters it's colour in a unified vision of artists, accessible to the common reader, and providing a landscape full of narrative and encounters. Each illustrated plate will hold a fascinating amount of layers. Inspired by the simple sketches created by Jacob Logos back in 2011 (below a few images), the text accompanies into and provides an extraordinary imaginative pathway.
Crossover from art to the stage has always been at heart in this desert world creative universe. Jacob Logo's work did in most subtle ways shape the theatrical performance of ¡Lazaro! (above a photograph from a live performance by Jan Eckert mirroring the opening image of this article). And much of "The Book of Lazaro's" narrative is already derived from the work in progress solo piece "Solo Bêtes d' Amour" by Manuela Bernasconi and written work for the monologue "Diogenes" by Felix B.Q.
The characters of the Book of Lazaro seek their own salvation through the infinite layers of wisdom and the fleeting power of love.