BINT

is a folk artist and witch-mage working across visual, sound and performance art.







Multimedia Installation
Sound Art, Technology
Ritual


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Mareekh مريخ - Multimedia Martial Talisman




Mareekh مريخ: Multimedia Martial Talisman


20 in x 20 in x 3 in
Mixed media paper sculpture (iron mica filament, ink, watercolor, iron magnetite ink of dissolved firearms, cochineal beetle pigment, human blood, cotton) on handmade Nepalese Lokta paper, 2021
Total media installation length runs 5 min, 416667 sec (325 seconds)

Mareekh مريخ is a multimedia talisman piece ensouling the planetary energies of Mars. This piece is the artist’s first exploration of constructing a talisman by traditional means, that instead of being carried on the person or location, could technologically be experienced in a multisensory fashion. The artist is interested in how technological means such as filming and audio recording could allow for factors like time and location to be captured in the activating process of celestial ensouling. All footage of this piece was captured during the 5 minutes, 65 seconds of the original tape loop played at the election “birth” time described below. This brief article describes what makes a true talisman.

Mareekh مريخ, in particular is a talisman created to attune the experiencer to the planetary energies of Mars, specifically as a “feminine call to arms.” This Martial feminine component is an ongoing theme and focus of the artist’s interests, training and advocacy likely supported by her own natal placements. All humans are believed to hold components of both the feminine and masculine — on all three planes of the physical, mental and spiritual.



Methodology


A variety of contemporary and traditional methods were used in the meticulous construction of this piece, inspired by techniques and imagery from the Islamic grimoire of Shams al Maarif and the Ghayat al Hakim aka the Picatrix – combined with the artist’s training in the Sufi and Western Mystery Traditions. Contemporary Martial adaptations of traditional Kufic calligraphy and Islamic illumination were used throughout.

This piece was constructed over a period of 17 weeks, during astrologically-appropriate days, nights and hours. Astrologer Sasha Ravitch was consulted for key election dates/time calculations that were observed for crucial points of construction (i.e. composing, recording to tape, introductions of and consecrating the metals within the piece, specific inscriptions, etc.) The election chart below is of the official birthing and recording of the piece. Traditional Renaissance Astrological Magic calculations were not completely adhered to, as the nature of this particular project called for the consideration of the artist’s natal chart and aspects as the “living talisman” and creator of the piece. For reasons of privacy, Bint’s chart is not publicly included with that of the talisman’s, but do note that the synastry between the two were a key component in the calculations.

Observations and incorporations of the lunar mansions as well as lunar aspects to Bint’s natal chart played an important role in the realizing and construction of this project.


The entire piece is comprised of Islamic Divine Names that were both chosen and inspired for the particular properties of this talisman. The Arabic Divine Names used are القوي Al Qawee, Ya Qahirيا قاهر , Ya Muntaqim يا منتقم , and العزيز Al Aziz meticulously inscribed during specific times, with consecrated pigmented inks and pens in a specific abjad-related or gematria number of times that all break down into a five-fold pattern further arranged to create specific shapes and forms. Traditional rituals of Sufic dhikr (mantric repetitions) of the Names along with ritual purity and other environmental factors were observed throughout the inscription process.

The following Quranic verse was inscribed 5 times using an ink made of dissolved firearms (shown below). This same verse and ink are used in the limited edition original prints mentioned at the bottom of this page.


و أنزَلنا الحَديد فيهِ بأسٌ شديد ٥٧:٢٥

And We sent down iron, with its great military might (57:25)




Materials

The five stone obelisks activating the corners of the talisman are of onyx containing enough iron in order to be magnetized underneath. This both draws down and carries the Martial current throughout the piece, which is also the meaning of the inscribed Quranic vers.

All metallic components of the piece are infused with multiple layers of iron and steel filaments. The larger sections of red are comprised of a mixture of genuine cochineal beetle pigment and the artist’s actively drawn blood.  The black inscriptions along the primary obelisk uses a highly magnetic iron ink made of dissolved firearms by ink-maker Thomas Little (@a.rural.pen). 

photo courtesy of @a.rural.pen




Music

The music used was composed in the key of C using very specific Martial field recorded foley samples and dhikr invocations, set to drones from a Korg MS20 analog synthesizer and harmonium—all of which were recorded straight to cassette tape using a 4-track recorder. The length of the cassette tape loop was cut to exactly 65 seconds (1 minute, 5 seconds), looping 5 times to a total length of 325 seconds (5 minutes, 416667 seconds), both being important numbers associated with the gematria associations with Mars.


At the elected “birth” time of the piece, the talisman grid and current running through it was activated by the playing of the cassette tape loop. The electromagnetic nature of the tape has slight interactions with the highly magnetic ink made of dissolved firearms, running around a magnetized iron-onyx obelisk.



Limited Edition Original Prints

5 limited edition original prints of the piece have been made available for sale and personal ritual use. These 5 limited edition originals feature an iron-filament infused  hand painted pentagram and other metallic accents, as well as the Quranic inscriptions mentioned above using the magnetite firearm ink in the artist’s contemporary Kufic style of calligraphy. These five prints come with a set of 5 stones to activate the grid for personal use, a stone for balancing personal energy after using the grid and a cassette tape of the Martial tape used in the original piece. Available for purchase here.

5% of proceeds go to PREPARE, Women-owned NonProfit Founders of IMPACT, resepcted and well-known for its curriculum and independent international chapters specializing in womxn training programs on personal safety, assertiveness and self-defense training program. It is part of a comprehensive effort to prevent sexual assault and other acts of interpersonal violence and boundary violations. prepareinc.comwww.impactselfdefense.org









Sound Art Installation
A/V Performance
Ritual Art

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For the Women Girt with the Sword





For the Women Girt with the Sword, 2021

Cassette tape sound art installation, Multimedia A/V performance
Presented at the Coaxial Media Arts Festival, March 2021
Total length 05 mins, 59 sec



Installation featured cassette tape ritual offerings of composed tape music and multimedia video art set to the narration of an excerpt of the essay “Freedom is a Two Edged Sword” by Jack Parsons (1914-1952). 

A multimedia ritual offering A/V installation (5 min, 59 sec) presented as part of the Coaxial Media Arts Festival, curated by FemSynthLab. This installation is a product of recent experimentations with tape music, fascinated by the electromagnetic properties – especially as it relates to the planetary energies of Mars – and its interactions with other metals.


I like the idea of the invocations being transmitted from electromagnetic tape to the hot metal of the incense burner, which after a number of revolutions eventually starts disintegrating the physical sound, as the earthbound magnetic prayers are carried to the heavens.


The ritual offerings are invoking and in dedication to the goddess Babalon, who is a form of the goddess Inanna/Ishtar, particularly appearing in the book of Revelations 17 branded by the Christian church via John of Patmos as the “Mother of Harlots” and “Mother of Abominations and All the Filth and Fornications of the World”. 




An excerpt from the live video art featuring  handwritten Arabic calligraphy of text from an Arabic Coptic copy of the book of Revelations 17:5 رؤيا ١٧:٥ describing the Apocalyptic vision of the Scarlet Woman.  Narrating from Chapter IV: “Freedom is a Two Edged Sword” by Jack Parsons.

 For all screening and installation inquiries please contact the artist

Mixed Media
Folk Art
Menstrual Art

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In Nomine Babalon: 24K Blood Illuminations






In Nomine Babalon: 24K Menstrual Illuminations

Ongoing Series,  2019

‘In Nomine Babalon’ is an ongoing series of devotional paintings for the goddess Babalon, in the style of traditional Arabic calligraphy and Islamic Illumination or tehzip using the artist's menstrual blood, 24K gold along with other precious natural pigments as mentioned in book 17 of Revelations. 

As “Mother of Whores”, she is often referred as the inverse of the Virgin Mary (RAA). Babalon is a goddess figure worshipped first by the Sumerians as Inanna and later as Ishtar in the Babylonian, Assyrian and Akkadian empires. She appeared much later in history in the sexually charged prophetic visions of John of Patmos, as explicitly described in Book 17 of his apocalyptic Book of Revelations. Babalon then appears centuries later to Elizabethan era court occultists and astrologers Dee and Kelly in what is documented to have been a set of (also sexually) disturbing direct communications. She was most recently resurfaced by Aleister Crowley, as a key deity and feminine figure most often tied to his religious philosophy and order of Thelema. The goddess tends to show up in the world at times of critical historic crises linked to the placid and repressed states of the pan-gendered feminine at large.

Islamic illumination has always been a highly revered art form, one the artist grew up surrounded by and studying amidst training in Arabic calligraphy as a child. Every step of the preparation and process is one of a tedious nature requiring persistent patience and remembrance of the divine nature of the text at hand. Practices of dhikr (repetitive utterances of Divine remembrance) and special breathwork is usually practiced to center oneself while engaging in the excruciatingly repetitive yet detail-oriented tasks involved. Being in a state of impeccable purity is another important requirement while engaging in this art form. Contrary to Islamic beliefs, the artist holds the menstrual cycle and blood rites of the feminine in very high regard, nothing short of miraculous, and far from filthy. Engaging in the creative process of this series continues to aid the artist in deep healing along the personal and ancestral lines of fragmentation, defilement and shame associated with experiences of navigating the world from a woman’s body with choice and agency.

All materials were prepared as traditionally as any Quranic manuscript or holy text has been. Paper was prepared by multiple washes of tea (and tobacco) stain, then sized with egg whites, before tediously hand-burnishing with a consecrated agate stone. Gold was prepared and washed by hand using genuine 24K gold  leaf, gum arabic and honey. For elements of color, a selection of mediums were used including ink, gouache and watercolor, incorporated with appropriate natural precious pigments such as ground emerald, ruby, pearl. The artist’s menstrual blood was ritualistically collected every month specifically for each piece, tying each painting as a relic in time to both the natural rhythm and activities of both the moon and artist’s.

Babalon is a central figure in the artist’s spiritual, creative and material work. She is currently engaged in a few translation projects of historical texts about her into Arabic, Farsi and Urdu. For further information on Babalon, please check this curated list instead of Wikipedia, which has proven to be a highly unreliable source on this topic.



Individual works continue below.  Additional process videos can be seen on the artist’s Instagram Story Highlights.  ︎


Babalon and the VII Beasts Upon Which She Rideth, 2019

23 x 23 cm
Menstrual blood, 24K shell gold, walnut ink, india ink, gouache, ground emerald natural pigment on stained, hand-burnished and sized Arches paper










Featuring traditional Ottoman-era  tehzip  illumination renditions of seven phallices (Oh how the Ottomans loved their phallices). 

The artist went to great lengths studying the male figure for this piece, using everything from former lovers, to gifted “d--k pics”, to surgical journals and a variety of  other pornographic means
of research.





Mother of Whores and Abominations of the World, 2019.

13 x 12 cm
Menstrual blood, semen, 24K shell gold, walnut ink, india ink, gouache, watercolor on stained, hand-burnished and sized Arches paper

Written in Kufic (early Iraq) style script from a Coptic Arabic copy of the Book of Revelations 17:1-2:

Mystery, Babalon. Mother of the Whores and Abominations [of the world]. Revelations 17




Mystery of Mystery, 2019.

8 x 11 cm
Menstrual blood, 24K shell gold, walnut ink, india ink, gouache on stained, hand-burnished and sized Arches paper. Mounted on leather.

Geometric meditations on Her holy of holies.


“No-man may come nigh unto Her.”
- LIBER CCCXXXIII







Mixed Media
Folk Art

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Talismanic COVID-19 Face Mask






Talisman Face Mask for Protection and Healing During COVID-19

for Gene Autry Museum of the West - Community Heritage Collection May 2020 

This mask was a product of many ideas and inspirations percolating in the remarkably uneventful events of quarantining at my mother’s home of my adolescence– during the month of Ramadan. During this Islamic holy month, I found such peace and joy reconnecting with not only my religious mother and the spiritual heritage of my birth, but also the billion other Muslims experiencing this very communal month in isolation.

This face mask is a contemporary adaptation of a traditional Islamic talismanic garment, historically created by trained artisans for ritual, ceremonial, and practical use designed to protect and bless the wearer. As a visual artist with an extensive background in mysticism and theurgy, this project was an exciting and natural combined expression of many years of study and practice. As is characteristic with talismanic implements, this wearable face mask was designed and constructed under very specific conditions, utilizing an effortless, yet painstaking process incorporating the appropriate symbols, measurements, numerology, divine names and various other inscriptions. NOTE: While this mask was constructed under strict planetary (☿ and ☉) and lunar guidelines, traditional astrological elections were not implemented for this particular project. 



Once a week, I join with fellow Sufi dervishes (disciples and initiates) across time zones on Zoom to receive teachings, discussion and short prayer sessions of virtual dhikr, or meditative group chanting of Divine remembrance. Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been collectively chanting dhikr of the name “Ya Shafi”, invoking the Divine attribute of “The Healer” for all in need during this time. The idea of this mask came about after one of these sessions, when going through storage bins at my mom’s I came across a stack of practice notebooks from when I had first started training in Arabic calligraphy as a child.

The central inscriptions Arabic calligraphy on this mask read يا شافي
(Ya Shafi) the divine attribute, or name of God translating to calling upon “The Healer” as well as المهيمن (Al Muhaymin), “The Protector” and الجامع (Al Jami’) “The Unifier” related in Islamic cosmology to Humanity. Elements of color, shapes, letters and numerology were also used for implementation of these holy words.



A majority of the best preserved Islamic talismanic garments were created for soldiers and sultans to be worn beneath their armor, as an added layer of protection and blessings of victory. This mask represents that feeling we could now all relate to, of donning the armor of our essential clean face mask when we are called to duty of venturing into the public battleground for essentials. However, as this mask IS the armor, instead of a magical undergarment, the inscriptions were designed to simultaneously protect the wearer as well as send a public blessing of healing and protection for all who outwardly observe the mask.



May all of you and your loved ones remain safe, healthy and protected–especially during these times. ︎







Performance Art
Live Installation

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Of Crows & Nightingales, 2015





Of Crows & Nightingales

Site specific installation, Downtown LA Artwalk, 2015
Guerilla street performances, 2015. Video by Snakebite Cortez, 2015
Photography and lighting design by Aaron Paul Rogers, 2015



Nightingales are put in cages because their songs give pleasure.
Whoever heard of keeping a crow?

- Jalal-Uddin Rumi (QAS)




This performance piece was an exploration of the psychologies of isolation in the context of the “modesty experience”. On reading the above quote by Rumi, the artist was reminded of a very sensitive coping mechanism she employed during the weighted circumstances of imposed modesty (having been forced to wear hijab for 8 years). In summoning the inner strength and composure to leave the house every morning, it was often an elevated sense of pride and self-worth that helped get through days in public. Over the years, a deep resentment began to form, as internal and external identities grew further apart. Beliefs instilled at home fed the belief systems of judgemental spite against the Western women in everyday life. “We must be extra special and unique, unlike the ‘common’ crows parading their goods around for all to see.” As bitter as it was, deploying this mechanism of bloated pride provided solace in moments of painful isolation and invisibility. 

The site-specific nature of this performance project was an important component to the psychological explorations and emotional healing for the artist. This project was explored in a series of street performances, including an installation at the Downtown LA artwalk. As an LA-native, various locations of the artist’s life and psycho-social traumas were revisited in a guerilla video day-shoot
around the city, documented in 2015 by videographer Snakebite Cortez.

Studio photos were taken by Aaron Paul Rogers and later reproduced by Bint as mixed media prints on aluminum featuring 24K gold inscriptions and detailing as shown below.





VIDEO CREDITS
Video: Snakebite Cortez
Editing: Snakebite Cortez
MUA: Sameerah Hoddison
Producer: Sameerah Hoddison

Concept/Direction: Bint Al-Shalabiya
Music: Baba Zula




Still from video by Snakebite Cortez, 2015.









Copyright © Bint Al-Shalabiya, 2021. All rights reserved.