130: The Green Grimoire


Part magical artifact, part posturing art-school degree show project, the Green Grimoire is simultaneously an inspired supernatural tome and a sickening insight into how anything, regardless of taste and sensibility, can be drawn into the web of the occult. It is held in an underground art gallery, but rarely sees the light of day due to its odd effects on the psyche.

The Green Grimoire is also known as the Folio and Das Garten, although the latter title is incorrect, both grammatically and due to the fact that the title belongs to a different book entirely). It is a small booklet of thirty pages of thick, hand-made paper, bound to a cover that feels smooth, like the rubbery texture of fake plant leaves. On the first page is a name, “D. McDonald”, then “Glasgow School of Art”. Near the bottom is a single word, “Folio”. The rest of the book is given to drawings made up of words, images of ferns and trees made up from synonyms that branch out from one another in tangential leaves and stems, all written in various shades and colours. The whole work appears to be an exercise in combining stream-of-consciousness writing with pictorial typography.

In fact, the Green Grimoire combines memetics with magic. The pictures-of-words are made in such a way that, when the reader consciously understands them, the seed of that picture takes root within their mind. An image of a wispy, frail-looking tree comprised of synonyms for “fear”, “deception” and “paranoia” will eventually grow inside the reader’s neural forests, with the end result of them feeling constantly afraid and suspicious of the people around them. Dry, barren vistas made up of prickly calligraphy and the word “thirst” can make the reader die from dehydration in an hour. A mushroom – one of the few images in the book to be shaded in – is made up of opposites and antonyms. “Lies” beside “truth”, “illusion” beside “reality”, “black” beside” white”; the mushroom provides fertile ground for schizophrenia to take root. Nobody knows the real effects of the willow comprised of the word “They”.

Not all of the meme-plants growing in the Green Grimoire are negative traits, though. Others include a row of sunflowers made up of “happiness”, “confidence” and “bliss”; poppies grown from “dreams of the future”, “clairvoyance” and “second sight”, and a tangle of weeds repeating one word, over and over in sprawling, creeping handwriting – “eternal life”.

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