It was hell when I was trying to get the job on the New Testament.
I wanted to write something that would really keep people engaged & add another communal & spiritual dimension to the story. I set up a big community day where we really workshopped hard to find a strong community voice whilst sharing a lot of ideas & anecdotes for local flavour, authenticity & ownership. Mary, Thomas & John presented their manuscripts & we debated for hours whether Jesus should have a real or symbolic resurrection.
I thought the rising from the death idea was so derivative. I was interested in another idea to really show the intergalactic pull Jesus had & I also wanted to re-invigorate some of the dull site-specific art I had been seeing of late. On the mountain outside Rome, before everyone arrived, I burnt huge ellipses to show the marks where the alien ships landed. They were quite beautiful the way they blended with the rich warm colours in the afternoon light. To help sell the idea of how Jesus willingly went with aliens to help save their planet Therese made a shadowbox that showed how the event could be depicted in a bible – adoring alien sheep staring up at Jesus with ellipses on the distant mountain.
If getting to final print were about merit, community support & a strong plot driven narrative things would have been fine. I had handed over our manuscript to Constantine early. but I knew things were not right as soon as he spoke. He mentioned the artist brief had changed to a collaborative process with Luke & Matthew, & I knew from experience their names & the word collaboration should be kept arms length. Our community manuscript was to be ‘circulated as a discussion paper’. Matthew & Luke included all but 24 of our verses in their manuscripts & what they didn’t steal they discredited. If the lack of scholarship & ethics wasn’t bad enough, watching Luke work the rooms on those social occasions giving furtive glances promising hard & pumping sex all night certainly was. He managed to get it all…
This is how it now reads for Luke with a newer “revisioning” by Theophilus who lived long after we died.
So, they left the burning bushes, parting of the seas, a physical resurrection, but nowhere are the results of my truly transcendent process work with the community & our imaginatively engineered alien landing …but we had a good time.