Bibliomancy: “A Thousand Eyes”

BY | Posted on | FILED UNDER Categories Bibliomancy, Brooklyn, Manhattan

“A Thousand Eyes” was created in conjunction with the Abecedarium: NYC project through the New York Public Library.

Of the 26 words I chose BIBLIOMANCY. My initial attraction to the word bibliomancy derives from my fascination with the absurd. I sometimes find that the most complex implications can be gleaned from absurdist expression in any form. Be it through performance, human interaction, film, literature, art, etc… Bibliomancy is the art or practice that seeks to foresee or foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge usually by the interpretation of omens or by the aid of supernatural powers using a book, sometimes a bible or other sacred text is used. The book will be opened at a random page and while keeping your eyes closed you will point at a line or passage in the book. My passage was selected from Siddhartha by Herman Hesse. Siddhartha is one of my favorite books sitting on the shelf and also one that has had a significant impact on my attitude towards existence. Thus, I deemed it significant enough in my life to warrant such a divination. The inspiration for the film was the following passage:

“Tenderly, he looked into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets. Bright pearls he saw rising from the deep, quiet bubbles of air floating on the reflecting surface, the blue of the sky being depicted in it. With a thousand eyes, the river looked at him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones. How did he love this water, how did it delight him, how grateful was he to it! In his heart he heard the voice talking, which was newly awaking, and it told him: Love this water! Stay near it! Learn from it! Oh yes, he wanted to learn from it, he wanted to listen to it. He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets.”

I really wanted to represent my own view of New York through a lens. So I went out to the Brooklyn Bridge with my camera and shot this footage. “A Thousand Eyes” is essentially my own exploration of the possibilities of the apparatus of the cinema. I really wanted to exploit the camera and force it to do the opposite of what is expected. The result: Beauty.

It was edited to my own mix of hauntingly beautiful and reminiscent sounds from the Epson Stylus 600 printer, as recorded originally by melack from The Free Sound Project Organization.


Ryan P. Nethery


4 thoughts on “Bibliomancy: “A Thousand Eyes””

  1. Truly beautiful! I practice bibliomancy too all the time, with books I pick up on the streets of Brooklyn, mostly for inspiration and as an anecdote to stagnation.

    I’m sure I’ll watch this again and send it to friends.

  2. 1000 Eyes, 1000 DPI up close, indistinguishable… RGB image? CMYK sound? A plotter’s tango harmonizing incompatible partners. The sudden zoom… The unexpected clarity of place… So brief… to want more, and yet… Bibliomancy! Typhlology? Inverse blinking?

  3. Your Siddhartha viewing of the Brooklyn Bridge infused the wires and the water below with ecstatic, hydrated light. I was engulfed by the rhythms of the machinery, as if I were hanging by a thin wire that creaked and groaned. I hope you will make more of these mesmerizing pieces that allow for a penetrating appreciation of the impact of a book (BIBLIOMANCY) but also the transcendent and abstract effect that a place can have on our conscience. Was surprised and delighted by the NYC skyline at the end. Lynne

  4. I thought I was the only one who liked the sound of an inkjet printer. I remember when I bought my first inket printer as a kid. I would sit close to the printer and actually listen to it while it was printing.

    Now that I am an adult, that joyful memory of listening to the sound is just memory. I’ve replaced my inkjet with a laser printer long time ago for “cost saving” reason.

    Your video reminds me of that childhood memory. It’s such a wonderful piece and thank you for sharing it with us.

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