Maskwitches and creative honesty

Huh. Jon here again, talking about Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland. So a little while back I spent the evening making images of drums for Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland. But you know what? I’m not going to use them. Which is kinda interesting.

Long post is long.

It’s very complicated, and would require too many words for blog post that anyone will read to the end, but I have some concerns about Maskwitches cleaving too close to real world Siberian shamanism (and we could throw in some other religious practices that one might call “shamanism” too) as an influence.

There’s a line on that I don’t care to cross.

Troubling echoes can be created when we take a religious practice first witnessed and recorded by non-indigenous peoples a few hundred years ago, and uncritically project it back the best part of 10,000 years into a gleefully “historio-gonzo”-but-attempting-to-be-internally-credible, fantasy game.

I’m reading a reference work right now which specifically falls into this trap, and I don’t wish to echo that mistake.

As it was being made, “Maskwitches of Forgotten Doggerland” walked a very precise line as the project developed, and I needed to trust its direction. Underneath the clear glee I have in assembling its range of fairly wild influences, and revelling in assembling the parts that “feel right”, there is a very deep well of seriousness in both a moral compass on appropriate or acceptable appropriation, and an honest creative process.

Creatively, I went looking for these drums in a self conscious way, and of course I found them. They did not find me, unlike all the other ideas in the book so far. And so they just don’t belong. They were made in the wrong way.

And in terms of moral compass, they’re giving me some bad vibes. Too on the nose, too lazy, verging on the unpleasant end of ethnography.

Contrast these with the “witch-knives” that came out of nowhere, feel really right, but don’t… take from anyone? It’s a very fragile sensibility but it matters to me as the creator. Making “right” things requires those fine-tuned delicate aerials, I think.

These drum images are however still enjoyable. And may yet find a use. But not in the panopoly of the witches for this project.

I thought this kind of curation and careful backward step might prove mildly diverting for you. Also: cool drum pics bro.

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