If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences.
The Book of Shadows is a multimedia (non)reality experience; an adventure in a land of dangers, mysteries and untold truths, where alchemy, magic and science are intertwined in secret ciphers and cunning plots, all on a background of ancient struggles between occult powers. The project recreates a visionary parallel world revolving around a mysterious manuscript and a deck of Tarot cards, obscure works of a fictional Alchemist.
The Book of Shadows is:
The Alchemist's Tome, better known as "The Book of Shadows"
A self portrait of the Alchemist. Johannes Athanasius Prometheicus
A mysterious tarot reader. Experts are uncertain about the historical and cultural references of this illustration
Strange devices and inventions. A Flying observatory and a floating tower. It is dubious if the Alchemist tried to realized his invention.
The first pages of the tome. On the right it is visible the Seal of the Tarot: a stylized elephant carrying the world
The Tarot deck as it was found in the secret laboratory in London.
detail of the Ace of Cups
Detail: The Tower stricken by the divine lightning
detail: The Tower, the falling men
Detail: The Tower, visible the cyphered name of the card
The back of the Tarot Card shows the city of Sapientia, a reference to an ancient alchemical myth
9. The Hermit
15. The Devil
16. The Tower
The World that Is but Wasn't
In the past 3 years, by extensive historical research and consultation with semiotics, sociologists and art historians, Aste gave shape to an extremely detailed parallel world so realistic as to create the illusion of being factual.
"Through my art I begin playing with mixing our “real” world, its history and people with fictional elements, characters and places. I wanted to suspend belief and free the power of imagination by leading you into a parallel dimension at a point in time when magic was a force of nature to be tamed and the world was a mere blank spot on a map waiting to be traced. A fantastic dimension where reality and non-reality are so entwined that it is impossible to discern any clear trace of boundaries between them giving us pause to consider the role of imagination and art in the representation and comprehension of our very existence, of the world and of life".
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London streets. Advertising for the first exhibition about the Book of Shadows and the Alchemist's time
The famous book by prof. Prescott with the complex Archeotypical-logic Theory that allowed him to break the code of the Book of Shadows
Image from The Alchemist’s Tarot: A Comparative Study by F. O. Von Morast , Nouvelle Maison, Paris, 2014
Madame Euphemie Hortense Werefkin, fortune-teller and medium with the reproduction of The Devil, from the Book of Shadows Tarot
The most important magazine of tarot, occult and magic. Found by Mme. Verefkin, today is translated in 360 different languages
A rare photo date 1920. The Library is sad to keep many secrets regarding Alchemy and Secret Sect "Umbra"
Andrea Aste receiving the prestigious "Murnau Award" for the Best Documentary 2015, Weimar, Germany
Prof. Lavinia Hubris-Lobacevsij, Prof. Prescott personal assistant, the code breaker
Today News: Occult-Mania is here!
A Zeppelin with the advertising of the exhibition "The Book of Shadows", flying over the Berlin sky
London, 2010. After centuries of being hidden away, an obscure manuscript along with a pack of tarot cards, both written in a mysterious unknown alphabet, are brought to light.
Could the manuscript be hiding some coded knowledge to be kept secret or protected at any cost? Is it dangerous as some scholar suggest? Why every one want it? Who is the unknown Alchemist who created it? The academic world is in confrontation with conflicting theories and opinions. What is the truth about the most mysterious book ever written?
For the first time, CCB History attempts to unveil a secret jealously guarded for centuries, presenting the most accurate and complete documentary every filmed about this controversial subject, with the contribution of eminent experts: art historians, philosophers, expert in military cyphers and codes, logicians and ancient language researchers, historians, theologians, occult expert and sociologists.
With the special participation of
Prof. Roger Scruton writer and philosopher, Oxford University, UK
Dr. Augustus Casely-Hayford School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, UK
Mary Greer, writer, teacher and tarot reader
In certain moments the fabric of the parallel world is ripped apart and another level of reality appear: an animation, narrated by international star Arturo Brachetti, tells the Alchemist’s story.
Director Andrea Aste
Narrators Arturo Brachetti
Animation Andrea Aste
Soundtrack Giorgio Boffa
Music Director Giorgio Boffa
Runtime 1h 14 minutes
“Andrea Aste, poet, painter, filmmaker, uses the timeless manuscript illustrations to create an existence in which past and present coexist.” -La Riviste Cinematographique
“It is a structurally audacious documentary that shows how narratives reflect and shape life.”
C.Y. Well YourMovie
“You’ll remember the dreamlike state the film induces long after the credits roll.”
The Exhibition Tour
"The parallel world will be tangible in a tour of exhibitions modeled around the same concept: real historical finds will be mixed up with the objects I have created. Fiction and reality have to communicate in order to entertain the audience while at the same time making visitors think about the role of fantasy and myth in the representation and understanding of our very own world and life. It would be a magical experience, people will be able to interact with the parallel world and be part of it with interviews, creative laboratories, etc." (Andrea Aste)
The Royal Museum of the History of Science, London. The first complete exhibition about The Alchemist's life and time
The Exhibition in London, soon before the opening
The exhibition in London
The exhibition in London, the hugest and more accurate exhibition about the Book of Shadows ever held
New York, Metropolitan museum. The day of the vernissage. People flocked to see the famous tarot and the mysterious tome
New York, Time Square, Advertising for the upcoming exhibition
Le Louvre, Paris, The self portrait of the Alchemist being photographed by visitors
The Tarot Box
The project was presented and founded on Kickstarter (July the 14th), allowing the realization of the box set containing the Deck of Tarot and the Art Book with the integral reproduction and decryption of the Alchemist's manuscript, a guide to new tarot Spreads, symbols and reference charts, rare maps, graphic and historical reconstruction, interviews ad lots more!
The Box Set containing the Tarot and the Art Book will be published and sold by Lo Scarabeo (January 2016), in a special limited edition.
The project has the official patronage of and is sustained by:
The philosopher stone, a dark mysterious black box
the box opened with the Art Book inside
The tarot cards inside their box
The cover of The Book of Shadows
A look inside the Book of Shadows: the reproduction of the Alchemist's manuscript
A look inside the Book of Shadows: new spreads of cards, new games
A look inside the Book of Shadows: the decoding of the Alchemist's manuscript, a collection of short novels
A look inside the Book of Shadows: the story of Umbra secret sect