»Comparing apples
and oranges is my
daily bread.«

Juli Gudehus

The Magic Flute

Mozart was a Freemason. Thus it does not really take wonder that one of his works comprises according thought. Not in explicitely, of course, as Freemasonry at Mozart’s time was considered a threat. Freemasonic ideals are humanity, tolerance, liberty, equality, fraternity … do the last three sound familiar to you? Since the French Revolution it is no longer a taboo to postulate and to appreciate all of them. Nevertheless it is still and repeatedly necessary to bring to mind how important they are for our social coexistence. 

In »The Magic Flute« bravery, fortitude, and philanthropy win over superstition, narrowmindedness, and violence. Michael Schilhan strongly emphasized this aspect in his production. He commissioned me for a contemporary version of the biblical writing on the wall. Instead of a menace like in the story of Belshazzar in the course of the performance you could read for instance the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Questions and poetical contemplations add a kind of visual footnotes to the storyline. I translated these into the icon Esperanto that I developped earlier when I retold the creation story from the Bible. 

In contrast to the Genesis the terms and texts here were much less figurative. Finding or designing a pictogram for »sky«, »good« or »breeding« is a walk in the park compared to words like »reason«, »dwelling«, or »gifted«.

Alexia Redl integrated my rebuses – single pictograms or longer lines of icons – by projecting them on the wall or by printing them on boards.

One of my great grandfathers by the way was also a Freemason. This was still considered to be suspicious in the beginning of the 20th century. My grandmother, his daughter, taught me a secret symbol of recognition. Anyway Freemasons liked symbols much and I like to imagine that my great grandfather would have rejoiced at my contribution to this production of »The Magic Flute«.

You want me to translate something for you into my Icon Esperanto as well? So why don’t you drop me a line!

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