Friday, August 15, 2008

Sarvaloka Essays #1

Imaginations and ideas form in my head all the time. As our kind can tell, it's often a little difficult to keep oneself from creating new bodies of work in large numbers. Over the years, I have condensed and filtered many story ideas; piles of paper are filled with designs of all kinds. What I have now is just The Heretic Saga (T.H.S) and Faery Jam, two totally different project.

As much as I dislike not completing ideas and works before the next one, here comes a new distillation of concepts I have been brewing on.

Deep in my mind, there is this simple idea that I never really considered, but is actually the best for my way of designing and experimenting. To term it briefly: to embrace my unlimited fascination with mythology. The name of this new project? Sarvaloka.

In the ancient Sanskrit language, the term sarvaloka can either mean 'encompassing all worlds and everything else in them' or 'maker of all worlds and realms'. I figured that if there's a word that defines what I'm on, this would be it. It has to be world mythology condensed.

I find mythologies to be one of the driving forces of the human nature, and a proof of our rich history of sentience. In every culture in the world, a group of people will start to have their own set of mythology. I believe this is because of the inherent curiosity and intelligence of mankind; we want answers to everything happening around us, even if it means inventing an answer and just stand by it with faith. Gods and goddesses, heroes and kings, legendary beasts and spirits, they are all a mix of our faith and an extension of what is found in nature. Mythology is something like a collective idea or collective answer to a certain aspect of the world. Even in our post-modern society, mythologies of the old still exist, and new ones are still created.

Take the internet, for example. Since the internet is something that one segment of the world have access to and another doesn't, it constitute as a group and society of its one. It is not surprising that it eventually developed its own culture, and mythology represents itself as the mutating memes that circulate the internet. In the corners of the internet is the collective of Anonymous, that has become a strong presence and drives the internet culture to evolve into strange ways. It's a huge topic on its own, I'll take on it in another essay.

With all these in mind, I went ahead and initiated Sarvaloka. But what exactly do I do with this collective mythology thing? Taking a cue from my great inspiration Kazuma Kaneko, it's simple: view world mythology the way I view it.

I love designing things out of ideas, and mythology is the world's richest and oldest source of it, and still growing! I feel it's a perfect combination. I have unconsciously enjoyed the process when I designed the 7 antagonists of T.H.S (Lucifer, Satan, Leviathan, Mammon, Beelzebub, Belphegor, Asmodeus), reinterpreting them in my own ways. I did the same in Faery Jam with the Faefolk, who are actually extended and evolved character ideas from the original Grimm faery tales.

It has started. Sarvaloka is that new beginning.

*to be continued in the next essay*