Barabeke’s Three “Operas”

by barabeke

In my early years I created three digital artworks that I consider key for my evolution as an artist and as a man.

These three pieces, which I call “Operas”, were all works of complex realization, made of hundreds of layers. They were created between 2007 and 2010, when I was living first in Canada and then in London. I worked on them as a Buddhist monk would work on a mandala… they kept me busy for months! Their completion marked the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one.

Please let me introduce them to you.


OPERA I: “Journey to the West”

Barabeke, Journey to the West, 2007, BBK07X001

It was first presented in 2007 on Flickr, with these two quotes as text:

In the game of life and evolution there are three players at the table: human beings, nature, and machines. I am firmly on the side of nature. But nature, I suspect, is on the side of the machines.
(George Dyson)

So what will we do when our intelligence is in the range of a googol (10100) cps? One thing we may do is to engineer new universes. Similarly, our universe may be the creation of some superintelligences in another universe. In this case, there was an intelligent designer of our universe—that designer would be the evolved intelligence of some other universe that created ours.
(Ray Kurzweil)

Journey to the West (西遊記) is also the name of a classic of Chinese literature from the 16th century, a mystical/comical adventure with a monkey with supernatural powers as protagonist (remember Dragonball? It wouldn’t exist without that book).

Proud note: I have been in touch with Ray Kurzweil (the second one I quoted), one of the leading futurists of our time. Ray was happy of my mention and expressed appreciation for my work (my fractal art in particular). He was kind enough to send me some of his books signed by him, that made my day big time!


OPERA II: “Night Riders”

Barabeke, Night Riders, 2007, BBK07X002

My first visit to New York!  The inspiration for this composition came from the cult movie “They Live” by John Carpenter. The protagonist of the movie (wrestler Roddy Piper) finds a pair of sunglasses that permits to see reality as it is: a world dominated by robots (who all work in banks) who are brainwashing humans with the goal of  enslaving them. When using those magic sunglasses all ads read “obey”, or “conform”, or similar…


OPERA III: “The Carrying of the Cross”

My “Carrying of the Cross” compared to the painting by Bosch.

My third and final “opera” is a modern version of a painting by Hieronymus Bosch, one of my favourite artists along with Leonardo da Vinci. Believe it or not, I am the model for all the 18 characters (which was kind of the point of doing this…). This artwork includes also many fractals, it truly took me a long time and effort (the file I was handling weighted more than 1 GB!).

Nowadays I don’t do such complex compositions anymore. Through the years the focus of my art switched to transmute reality (as it appears on camera) into visionary art, by using only the original photos and nothing else, without any hand drawing involved. A process I call “transmutation”, here explained and illustrated, which I further evolved into what I call transfigurations.

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