As part of our c.sides SUPER DUPER end-of-the-year sale, including our very special giveaway raffle, is also a gift from film director Karim Ghahwagi, EFTERKLANG and c.sides: until December 31st 2011, The Figment Notebook will be available to view online in its entirety!

The Figment Notebook is a magnificent animated film created for 'Audible Approaches' by Copenhagen based artist Karim Ghahwagi in cooperation with Casper Clausen and Mads Brauer of the Danish quartet Efterklang, who also wrote and produced the music for the film. Narrated by Sara Davis, this magical ghost story/fairy tale was a true highlight at the HKW premier. We are proud and happy to finally be able to share the film with you for this limited period. Enjoy!

The Figment Notebook

What is the first thing you remember?
Is it the sound of your mother’s voice calling your name?
Is it a smell?
Is it a feeling?
An image?
Do you remember your eyelids fluttering wide and seeing the palm of your opened hand for the very first time?

What is the first thing I remember?
I remember… the feeling of the seasons turning in my bones.
I remember… the fundament of this house settling into my being.
I found some candles in the kitchen,
Matches on the stove,
I float from room to room,
My shadow stretched long across the walls and ceilings,
Traveling across paintings on the walls,
And the portraits…
So many souls peopled on the walls
Strangers and strange faces- secret stories behind paper eyes…
A parade in stilled fragments…
Family trees which branch into time.
Children like the petals on a flower.
And these women all arranged in this way…
What are their stories?

This is Mr. Finger. He likes cats, and always sneezes on Sundays.
And here are Mr. and Mrs. Chambers. Mathematicians both of them and deeply in love.
And this is Mr. Lens. If he takes your picture he will steal your soul.
And here is Ms. Woods, she is the grand matron of this estate.
And here are her two daughters: Joanna- and Ruthelin
And these ladies here are all part of a secret coven of witches.
They know spells and secrets, and feel the old ways of the world tremble in their beings.
They have formed a sisterhood, which is devoted to helping the sick and the poor, the lost and the orphaned.
They make sure that the hungry are fed, the sick are healed, and orphaned children are raised by the sisters as if they are their own.

I imagine that these sisters live in this large estate out in the country surrounded by fields in every direction.
And even further away, as far as the eye can see, an expanse of muscular hills covered with trees.
And then I imagine that one day a child is left alone and orphaned to the world on the steps of their estate.
I imagine it being a dark and cold endless night and the moon is full upon the star speckled horizon.
The sisters have gentle hearts and they take the child into their care and raise it to the best of their abilities.

Something magical begins to happen...
Until the arrival of the child, times have been hard on the sisters.
But suddenly it is as if the child has brought beauty and good fortune into the world.
The sun streams in through the windows and the wheat blooms in the surrounding fields,
Jugs are overflowing with milk.
Jars filled to the rim with golden honey.
And for a time the sisters know only happiness.
They prosper and produce more than they can manage and sell their milk and wheat and honey in the village on the other side of the hills.
Soon I imagine, word about the remarkable child spreads like brushfire in that village,
and all sorts of curious people come to the estate because they want to see the child for themselves.

The first to arrive is a man with a limp who prays to be healed, so that he can run away dancing.
The second is a woman who has lost her voice, and who now gestures with her boney hands that she hopes the child will make her sing like a bird.
Then there is a whole troop of acrobats who wish nothing but to show the child their performance.
And within a very short time the front of the estate is crowded.
And one by one, the Sisters give of their bread and milk and honey and then turn all of them away.

There was one orphaned boy however.
He had remained camped outside the house for days.
He had only one eye, and his sole possessions were the clothes on his back and an old tri-podded photo camera.
For a coin or knuckle of bread, the boy would take pictures of the people whose pilgrimage had brought them all the way to the house.
One night after the crowds had gone and the boy was left alone out there on the steps in the rain, the sisters took pity on him, and finally invited him to join the other orphaned children inside the house.

The boy had a good eye on him, and the sisters soon let him take pictures of everyone in the house.
And it was only a matter of time before portraits lined every wall of the house.
They hung above mantelpieces and fireplaces, in bedrooms and the kitchen.
Soon the one eyed boy had placed portraits peering into every room of the estate.
The sisters were so pleased with his portraits that they finally allowed him to take a picture of their prodigal child.
He took many pictures of the child, one in every room,
On the winding staircase,
In the kitchen,
In the hallways,
In the bedroom,
In the library,
By the chimney,
In the aisles and corridors.
And soon her likeness was woven into every brick in the house.

Then one day soon afterwards,
something strange happened.
The one eyed boy disappeared with his camera and was never seen again.
Gone like he had never been.
The following morning the prodigal child too disappeared.
The sheets, cast aside, were still warm in her bed.
There was but a single silver coin on her pillow.
The sisters looked everywhere, calling her name.
And as they kept searching every room of the house,
every corner of the garden,
every path for miles in the surrounding fields and forests,
the sisters too started to disappear.
One by one.
First they took ill,
And became ghosts of their former selves,
They stopped singing songs,
And working the fields,
And reading their books,
And casting their spells,
And feeling the world in their bones,
Then they became translucent,
And then…
they were gone as if they had never been.
And once the sun had set on that final day, all that was left of the sisters and the
prodigal child were their portraits hanging in the library.

Karim Ghahwagi © 2011