Friday, August 20, 2010

Ionic Asterion

A-mazing Mechanical Bull !

Number 8 in "Nouveau Robotica" series was inspired after seeing the much acclaimed "Inception." Some people might have noticed slight nods to Greek myth with the names:
Ariadne [daughter of King Minos, the mythical king of Crete, believed location of the Labyrinth] and maybe even Arthur [Arthur Evans being the modern excavator of the historic site]. You can tell Mr. Nolan loves his puzzles. Unlike Ellen Page, this maze illustration took waaay longer than one minute to design-- maybe you can look at it for two minutes? :]

So in the myth we've got our Mino-taur = "the Bull of Minos" as the bastard child of Queen Pasiphae and cursed to live as a half man, half bull monster eventually defeated by the hero Theseus.

I had fun watching a few documentaries on the Greeks and reading a little bit about the mythology of the Minotaur. Turns out he has a name: Asterion or "Ruler of the stars" [See the asterisks in there? :P]

Here, instead of using Classical Greek, there is the Ionic Alphabet lettering more suited for ancient Minoan Crete. I really wanted to have an excuse to use the cool looking Omega symbol [or large/'mega'- "O"] or the Omicron [small/'micro'- "o"] but it kept looking like a fraternity logo... would've looked like ΑΣΤΕΡΙΩΝ. Alas, this bull ain't no frat boy-- more old school, so I opted for the older form of Greek. Only by coincidence does it look a little bit like the word "Inception" since R's looked like P's.

This whole series is based on explorations about language, code, and symbols, so going back to such old writing made for some fun exploration. Here's more if you want to dig deeper--

An idea about threes: Here, the character is 1/3 bull, 1/3 man, 1/3 mechanical (wouldn't be much of a 'Robotica' without it~) And he is simultaneously the cursed beast, the designer of the maze [as the inventor Dedalus] and Ariadne [the provider of the thread that kept Theseus from getting lost.] The thread also leads to the spool on the double-sided ax or "labrys" from which the name "Labyrinth" originates. Yay, full circle.

So much vocabulary traces back to the Greek... that dad from that wedding movie was soo right~

Well.. that was a lot to read. If you made it this far, here-- watch a funny video about minotaurs to unwind: Minotaur is Cruel and Unusual!

O the Onion goodness~