Voynich Method

‘Scattered through the ordinary world, there are books and artefacts and perhaps people who are like doorways into impossible realms, of impossible and contradictory truth‘- Jose Luis Borges

‘I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create’. - William Blake

‘You’re a world—everything is hidden in you’. - Hildegard of Bingen

‘All creatures of the world are to us like a book, a picture, and a mirror’.- Alain de Lille

‘Man lives in the world of surmise, of mystery, of uncertainties. The insight of imagination must suffice. Turning the experience upon itself to deepen and intensify its own qualities to imagination and art’.- John Dewey

‘As the true method of knowledge is experiment
the true faculty of knowing must be the faculty which experiences,
This faculty I treat of’. - William Blake

‘According to this conception, the world, books, and mind itself were all conceived as specula (mirrors) through which the hermeneutic gaze could gain access to what lies beyond them’.- Nicola Masciandaro

The Voynich Method is a term I have coined to describe the complex, idiosyncratic and creative way that I work with the ineffable, inexplicable, mysterious, and magical; with the land. It is a method for highly imaginative creative practice. It is named after the medieval codex the Voynich Manuscript, an enigmatic artefact containing diagrams pertaining to plants, healing and cosmology, and pages of text in an indecipherable language. Ultimately it is a method for ART, for residing and embracing the unknown, for not knowing and deepening the relationship with the impossible, contradictory and mysterious.

Although the manuscript came to my attention in 2015, it wasn’t until the first year of my PhD project on  ‘Aesthetics of sustainability and multimedia visionary scenarios for sustainable future,’  that it became an important aspect of my studio practice as a focal point for framing my approaches and methods, as well as a tool for retaining my unique cultural identity.  It was the bizarre illustrations that first lured and griped me as they bore a strange resemblance to my own drawings. The mystery surrounding the manuscript nurtured my practice in a way that perplexed and seemed to offer a limitless field of inquiry. Like many before me I found myself in the grip of the artefact.  
The mysterious allure of the book has attracted, mathematicians, botanists, alchemists, cryptographers, scholars, and artists since it first appeared at the court of Emperor Rudolf II in the 16th Century. Raymond Clemens, curator of early books and manuscripts at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University, USA, and co-author of Introduction to Manuscript Studies (2007), highlights evidence that the creator of the Voynich Manuscript must have been versed in the tradition of alchemical and allegorical representations. Clemens also points out that he believes that the unique and enigmatic content is not intended to be read literally.

Some people believe the Voynich Manuscript to be a medicinal book, a medieval book of nature or a type of self-help divination book with miraculous properties. Encouraged by a belief in its miraculous healing powers, some have even enquired to Yale University about accessing the Voynich with the desire to touch it, lick it, or even to ingest pieces of it! 

The Voynich Manuscript began to act like a portal, allowing my imagination to go on a journey into an alternative domain, full of vital information and knowledge with the potential capacity to shape a whole new sustainable culture, with the power to make alternative worlds. Speculating over the interpretation of its undecipherable meaning acted as catalyst for the construction of my own pataphysical universe and theories, around plants, aspects of healing , recipes, to form an imagined cosmology.
To see processes and practices that constitute the method for ART and Land Practice follow this link to the Voynich Method (Processes and Practices)