Parsons DT 2022 Show

Bestiary of Tengri

Ardak Mukanova

The Bestiary of Tengri reveals a virtually unknown world of glyphs. The book pulls together a patchwork of notes, impressions, brief encounters, evidence from countless archeological digs, deduction, inference, and imaginings stitched together from the work of researchers and random individuals, who, themselves, got a whiff of glyphs. 

Despite the lack of concrete evidence about glyphs, this study compiles what has been gleaned through momentary glimpses of glyphs. Our species cannot consistently observe — see, touch, or hear glyphs, but sometimes we can be aware of their presence, though their appearance might be mutable, and each individual perceives them in their own way. In this research most of the glyphs appeared in a time of mental isolation, not necessarily in a confused state, but rather as a moment of ephemeral thought. Even though we do not have consistent data, and glyphs seem abstract, it can be deduced that they have a structure as a living creature, but with somewhat different functions from known species. Smaller Glyphs, it seems, might form bigger glyphs, transform and modify themselves depending on the condition and situation. 

The scant evidence found in archeological remains seems to suggest that Glyphs live in organized, layered kingdoms. Scientists have theorized that kingdoms usually have several levels for the entire organism to function — they are called domains. Each domain most likely has special glyphs that protect it, and maintain its vital functionality. Although a particular kingdom mostly requires the proper function of each glyph to form a healthy organism, there seem to be cases when a kingdom might be occupied by parasite glyphs and loose domains. In this scenario, the kingdom still can exist as long as the core is protected. Larger kingdoms form bigger clusters that build a glyph universe. The reason for the structure is unknown. When a kingdom is separated, smaller glyphs are eaten by other kingdoms or left wandering in space.

A World of Glyphs

The mysterious world of glyphs has no logical function or precise understanding. Incredible though it may seem, their world seems to exist separate from all parallel realities. It is impossible to find out their real purpose, functions, or capabilities. Their origin, evolution, and exact structure are unknown. 
What is known is that one glyph cell consists of several levels of different surfaces. The surfaces are inhabited by small glyphs that each perform designated functions. Many of them have no minds but obey the higher glyphs. Their shared main purpose is to protect the Tengri — the main glyph. Each Tengri is the heart of its kingdom and without it, surfaces cease to function, and glyphs either die or lose their functions and remain wandering in space. 
It is known that the cell levels can be increased and decreased depending on the general state of the kingdom and the Tengri located inside. There are several kingdoms, but the exact number is unknown. They can coexist with each other, or exist separately. It is assumed that they form certain chemicals without which the existence of spaces and their interaction is not possible. In these notes, analogies of cell functions were provided to help the reader understand, but these do not illustrate all the functions of glyphs and their purposes. 

It is known that from time to time they become perceptible to individuals whose mind abstracts from the present and ceases to focus on life. This happens rarely and the images sensed in this manner are always very vague. They remain in memory as a dream, or come suddenly as deja vu, but only in the form of an abstract feeling. They cannot be seen or interacted with. Nevertheless, since ancient times some have been trying to capture them in art or in stories. Since their images are abstract and vague, each region presented them in its own way. In petrographic clippings, they remain as abstract images of the “other,” which can be interpreted in different ways. Glyphs often appear in dangerous places, perhaps to warn or to await communication. It is not known how they interact, whether they are harmful or useful. If you are careful and pay attention to the details of images from different eras and cultures, echoes of Glyphs can be found throughout the environment. The interesting thing is that they can absolutely differ in their images and presentation, but the aura and feeling remain unchanged. For this world, a glimpse of a Glyph can inspire fear — either generalized fear of the unknown, or pathological paranoia. These glimpses cause loss of time and self-understanding. On the other hand, they do not cause visible harm, and the emotions experienced may only be a natural reaction to an unknown entity from which it is unclear what to expect.

Some have tried to establish communication with glyphs, but no one has managed to understand their methods of communication or whether it even exists. Artists have made speculative video projects depicting a potential communication style, but it has never been replicated in reality. It is possible to interpret the forms into which they can transform in different ways, and perhaps they form a language that only they can understand. 
The Bestiary contains the main glyphs which can be sensed, but their real forms will never be revealed because they cannot be understood in this reality. The images placed in the Bestiary are also an abstracted visualization of the possible, since their exact images cannot be displayed by any means available in this world. At the micro-level they are in several different planes and time intervals, forming clumps of essence that do not obey the laws of our spaces. This collection is just an attempt to get closer to the world of glyphs, their structure, and the theoretical possibility of trying to communicate with them. 

Ardak Mukanova

Multimedia Designer | Visual Artist
Ardak is an experienced multimedia designer from Kazakhstan with a demonstrated history of working in the online education and television production industry. Arts and Design professional with a BA and MA in Graphic Design from St Petersburg University and an MFA in Design & Technology from Parsons School of Design. Currently focuses on game design, creative technology & coding, motion design, XR, experimental digital art, and speculative storytelling.