June 25, 2012

Ouija: Behind the Planchard

Have you ever dicked around with a Ouija board? I did when I was about 10 years old. My grandparents had one in their game closet. My memory is incomplete regarding the incident. I do know it was the only time I ever took part in the strange process.

My step-sister, 2 years my senior, knew how to go about utilizing the 'talking board'. Although I have no recollection of the questions we asked, I do remember having my hands on the planchard, feeling it glide about from letter to letter, while feeling fairly certain that it was responding to my step-sis and not some unseen spirit.

Tonight, a quick search on the internet brought me to something I knew must exist: Ouija online. As a public service to my loyal readers (as well as a prelude to todays art offering) I share with you the engaging Q & A session between myself and the online Ouija:    

Who are you?
A   S...T...R...A...N...G...E...R
What is your name?
T...O...O   D...A...R...K
 Are you alone?
How many are with you?
(There were 9 'entities' total... enough for a baseball team!)

Do you all play baseball?
Which position do you play?
It looked as if the jokester was doing a spirit version of the old 'Abbot and Costello' bit. Ok, I thought, i can play along...

Who's on first?
Whoa. Hold on. That is not how the bit goes. Besides, that was creepy. I decided to inquire about one final thing. I had a question question for the board which had been a bee in my bonnet for far too long. This was my chance to put it to rest, once and for all. I wanted to know how to correctly pronounce 'Ouija'.

What gives with the A? Is it WEE-JEE or WEE-JUH... or...?
And that, my friends, is a true story.
Now, on to the art...

Approx. 3' x 2' x 1"
(click to biggenize it)

This little beauty is not particularly little. It came to me as a broken and weathered tabletop, abandoned in the apartment laundry/storage room by previous tenants. As with so many pieces, the idea was born the moment I saw the wood. If you wondering why it was made to look like a broken and charred Ouija board , you are not alone. I, too, can not figure out the basis for such an idea. I know only that I could visualize it completed and had to make it so.

The hand is foam, covered with hardcoat and paint. It was part of the 'treasure' I discovered in a film studio's dumpster. I created the planchard using a solid oak cabinet door, salvaged somewhere in my wanderings. It is actually two pieces, stacked, with a curved magnifying glass lens as a window. The hand is secured with adhesive, the planchard with screws.

It is not frail by any means. It is stout. To me, it looks and feels like the remnant of a large sign from a fortune-tellers business which had, apparently, met with some trouble. Perhaps it had been tossed asunder during a vicious hurricane. The charring on the edges could tell a different story. That of a scandalous palm reader who, having tricked one too many people out of their money, had been run out of town as her store was set ablaze.

Ultimately, it is what you want it to be. Despite my uncertainty regarding its reason for being, I know I like it. The image here does not do it justice, as you can imagine. I am considering putting it on display at Lestats on Adams Avenue. I may have to trade it out with some of my other work hanging there, but it needs to be on display. I have a feeling there is but one person in the world who will truly love this. God knows they are not going to see it if it just sits in my studio!

Finally, let us not forget, the correct pronunciation is 'WEE-JEE'. I got that info right from the source.