“Monuments to Unbelief”

Leigh E. Schmidt’s essay for Aeon.com examines the phenomenon of public memorials representing humanism, freethought and atheism: American freethinkers had long been preoccupied with the public memorialising of their incredulity and anticlericalism. They wanted to enshrine their commitment to scientific rationality over biblical revelation, their strict construction of church-state separation, and their worldly focus on … Read more“Monuments to Unbelief”

Midwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci

My Midwinter altar – I think “locus” is actually more apt in this context – is a literal illumination of the vanitas theme, a union of wunderkammer and kamidana (wunderkamidana?) It’s an assemblage of objects whose symbolic meanings are both amplified and made more subtle by their interrelationships. I try my clumsy best to make … Read moreMidwinter Solstice and the Notion of Genius Loci


I woke up this morning with a carpe diem image in my mind and set to recreating it via Photoshop. Adapted from artist Totoya Hokkei’s original ukiyo-e print (undated, circa 1780-1850), this montage portrays a torch-bearing flowerskull priest gathering seaweed as he darts between crashing waves.

Quietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about one generation after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via … Read moreQuietus: State-Sponsored Suicide in “Children of Men” (2006)

Dear Guardians: A Burning Man Short Film (2014)

From the creator’s website: In 2011, I stood in the shadow of the Temple of Transition. I taped a photograph of my wife’s recently deceased father to the inside of an archway. I roamed her hallways, silent. I witnessed a beauty that brought me to my knees, as Mike Ventimiglia writes: “I don’t know if I’ve … Read moreDear Guardians: A Burning Man Short Film (2014)

Odyssey of the Dead (2019)

According to ceremonialist Daniel Lev Shkolnik: In the oldest story in existence, Gilgamesh crosses the sea of death in search of immortality. In Greek mythology, Charon ferries souls across the river Styx to Hades. In ancient Egypt, departed souls were thought to travel with Ra on the solar bark to reach the sacred field of … Read moreOdyssey of the Dead (2019)