Inspired by the costume designs of New Orleans' century-old Mardi Gras traditions, The Riddles of Existence is a kind of modern reinvention of Tarot Cards. But these cards are not for predicting the future. They are for having fun now.
The Riddles of Existence are an oversized deck of fifty cards, each with a full-colored figure wearing a costume. Beneath the illustration, there is a riddle in verse. The costume is the answer, or hint, to the riddle. This is the game. The illustrations and the verse provide great pleasure, above and beyond, the game. There is also a card with the answers to The Riddles of Existence for those who are stumped.
As author/illustrator Dalt Wonk writes: "A costume is a sort of visual riddle. Especially in New Orleans, where the imagination runs wild. 'What are you supposed to be?' you often ask a masquer in the street. Once I found myself confronted by a Dueña, the Pope and the Whore of Babylon (all three of the male sex)!"
Written and illustrated by Dalt Wonk
LUNA Press is proud to present Inventing Reality, an anthology highlighting the work of twenty-seven contemporary New Orleans photographers. The collection, curated by D. Eric Bookhardt, presents a vision that is both subjective and representative of a broad spectrum of techniques, providing an overview into the creative renaissance that is taking place in the city today. "In photography, this city and the surrounding region have long been a spawning grounds for visionary or magic realist imagery dating to Clarence John Laughlin's surrealist works of the 1930s," writes Bookhardt. "Today a coterie of younger emerging artists, often reflecting alternative socio-cultural milieus, have - in concert with their more established peers - expanded this visionary vocabulary."
Bookhardt's insightful essay details the rich history of photographic arts in New Orleans, and his individual introductions to each photographer's series provide context for the works of 2013 Guggenheim Fellow Deborah Luster, David Halliday, Josephine Sacabo, and Louviere+Vanessa, among other established and emerging artists. The array of photographic practices used by the artists ranges from wet-plate collodions, orotones, photogravures, x-rays, and silver gelatins, to modern digital processes. The resulting anthology is a lyrical insight into personal visions, dazzling in their variety of approaches. As Russell Lord notes in the book's foreword: "It is a story about identity, tension, perception and the psychic mystery of photography in New Orleans."