Did we lose our ideation faculty?
Everything started with a statement by a famous Italian intellectual who says “Men are losing mind and soul and are reducing themself to body, to muscle so they can do HOMO FABER activities such as running, having sex, eating and using their hands. It is a deep anthropologic involution” (Andreoli La gioia di pensare). Homo faber in Latin literally means “smith man” but the phrase is referring to hobby makers and craftsmen. That statement made me piss off.
When I got the news The German Blades Museum in Solingen was presenting an award for an “inspired by literature knife”, I had the idea to respond to the overquoted statement with my work so conceiving and making a knife, showing ideation faculty.
My first thought was the Greek tragedy Prometeus bound. Prometeus is punished by Zeus because he gives fire to mankind and keeps it. I do like this tragedy because it is about technology that gives freedom to mankind, and based on my personal experience homo faber’s ability is not only a matter of “hand using” but also of social recognition and a kind of knowledge “Do effective things the man who knows, who masters the secrets to make them”( Eliade Arti del metallo e alchimia). The tragedy would have been perfect also for the central presence of fire which is represented in most of my works but….but if you read the tragedy you don’t find any mention of knife or blade. And the award rule was clear: a blade must be mentioned, so I could not use that tragedy.
Instead, I focused myself on a very old tale from Africa, and I did a blade named “Kirikou’s father’s dagger”; here is the description I did for the award :
- “Kirikou and the Sorceress” is a 1998 animation movie drown from elements of West African folk tales; it depicts how a newborn boy, Kirikou, saves his village from the evil witch Karaba. This movie has a structure very similar to western folk tales and the magical agent is a dagger (minute 35).
- In order to draw the dagger I’ve choosen a model to be inspired. (below the second pic)
I found this picture in internet and comment said “Phoenician dagger. 3th century BC” no recognized sources. Very interesting and elegant the lotus-shaped center of the pommel. The ivory part remember the lunula apotropaic amulet. I changed the blade width to value the mosaic composition
- The pattern of the blade I forged for the dagger rappresents hight flames. It is very common use fire and its symbolism during magical or religious celebrations (Carl Martin Edsman Ignis Divinus ) Pattern is regular near the guard but if you move to the tip there is no more regularity, you see flames moving, stopping, coming back….much more forging much more the movement in the pattern. At the end flames are thin……. probably light “Licht ist der Genius des Feuerprozesses” Novalis.
- Inside the mammoth ivory there is Damascus steel whose pattern evoke ivory pattern. Epoxy compound would like to evoke black sand.
In my mind the connection was clear: Kirikù is fighting and holding on the symbol of technology (his family dagger) against an evil human who use words to bewitch and deceive people….I made a dagger to fight an Italian intellectual who use words to please his fans !!