Visual identity of the 24th Ars Cameralis Festival is built around the concept of a collection of events added by its organizers. Each of the festival participants creates his or her own personal collection at the time of choosing events in which they wish to participate. This intimate collection accumulates remembered experiences, memories, and emotions.
A collection is an assembly of unusual objects with artistic, material or sentimental value. What we would like to have in our collection is a unicorn – a mythical animal, existing in a fantasy world, but still appealing to any collector. A magical creature, very rare and difficult to hunt down. It is characterized by spiritual purity; unicorn tears are a cure for all known and unknown poisons and diseases.
A rhinoceros can be called a modern-day unicorn. It is a rare animal: there is only one male of the northern white rhinoceros left alive, and the other 4 subspecies are critically endangered. Rhino horn has been used in many cultures as a medicine and aphrodisiac. The animal inspired many artists, including Ionesco (Rhinoceros play), and more recently Woody Allen (in Midnight in Paris Salvador Dali drinking calvados compares everything to a rhinoceros. Dali himself was inspired by it to create the monstrous Rhinoceros Marbella).
The model for the image of the unicorn is an illustration from the richly illuminated Aberdeen Bestiary, 12th c., and the prototype of the rhinoceros is an Albrecht Dürer woodcut of 1515. Dürer had never seen a live rhinoceros, and his print was based on hearsay description. Although Dürer’s Rhinocervs is more like an armoured war machine than a living animal, for centuries it had been considered a reliable source of information about the appearance of this exotic creature.
The visual language is a combination of imaging typical of medieval manuscripts, detail-rich stained glass with flat vector drawing and expressive typography reminiscent in its composition of initials commonly used in bestiaries. Distinctive, vivid colours give the impression of a colourful mosaic, and gold lettering with massive, heavily accented sheriffs brings to mind the elegance of gothic script. All this produces a fairy-tale atmosphere (somewhat dark, like the Brothers Grimm), dreamlike and unreal. The collection we create during the festival is just like that: intangible, ephemeral, shrouded in smoke from the stage, but also filled with stage light, a riot of colours, contrasts and intense experiences.