Thank you for taking the time to view our new project! We are Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, who have been collaborating together in the art world for over 20 years under the moniker Kahn & Selesnick. For your consideration, we would like to present The Carnival at the End of the World Tarot Deck. http://kahnselesnick.biz/tarot-deck/ is now where you can find it to preorder post our very successful kickstarter campaign.
Carnival at the End of the World Tarot is a contemporary tarot deck, a loose-leaf Book of Fate summoned from the same mythologies we have been exploring in our recent photographs, paintings and book project. In 2006, our multimedia project Eisbergfreistadt included a poker deck that when laid out in a long line, revealed a panoramic narrative of climate change and environmental devastation. In 2017, as the stakes of the Great Game have grown greater and the Anthropocene has exponentially brought change and chaos to many lives around the world, we have moved from making cards for jovial pastimes to those for divination: the Tarot, which in its traditional uses has been consulted to forecast disaster, anticipate risk, and navigate life-choices through backstage access to the Unseen. However, worry not if you don't wish to dabble in sortilege and oracular query to peruse a glimpse of what the future may have in store for you--you may also ruminate upon the cards one by one in a linear fashion, and meditate upon the views from the Fool's Journey as one would read a Pilgrim's Progress; or, just as seekers and wanderers once stowed painted icons and gilded relics in the pockets of their cloaks, the Tarot can be a portable trove of mystifying talismanic images to accompany, inspire and entertain you on your own peregrinations.
As long as people have been using Tarot cards for divination, its symbolism and methodologies have evolved to keep time with societal change. Carnival at the End of the World Tarot keeps to the Rider-Waite-Smith nomenclature and numbering for the major arcana and also presents pictorial scenes and similar suits for the pip cards for the minor arcana, but its iconography and interpretive values are appropriate to our own uncertain times. One of Kahn & Selesnick's collaborators, the writer/artist/medium Sarah Falkner, has channeled Madame Lulu's Book of Fate--a guidebook and travelogue specifically created for the interpretation and practical use of the Carnival at the End of the World Tarot Deck. The cast of characters from Truppe Fledermaus--who one can also find in Kahn & Selesnick photographs and motion pictures--star as the tarot's portentous archetypes, whether in the leading roles of the Major Arcana or in the Minor Arcana's ensemble pieces among the four suits and their corresponding alchemical elements, of which Earth, Air, Fire and Water show the impact of climate change amid sinking islands, arsenals of armaments, blazing forests, and melting icecaps. In addition to the usual suits, the deck includes three extra cards each representing one of the three main members of the Truppe Fledermaus--Dr. Falke, Count Orlofsky, and Madame Lulu--as featured in Kahn & Selesnick's books and narratives. These three cards can be mixed into the querent's readings to provide an extra layer of meaning.
Sketches for the cards were created by the artists, and then each was painted in watercolor and gouache. The complete set of 78 paintings were completed in July 2017. After scanning the paintings and adding typography, we made an oversized fine art first edition printed, cut and boxed by ourselves, limited to 200 sets that we show at our gallery venues. The reception to the first edition has been extraordinary--but the time and expense required to hand produce this fine art deck required a correspondingly high price tag, and convinced us of the need to produce a deck that was more affordable to the general public.
We are looking to raise the cost of printing the tarot deck on durable stock by one of the best presses for playing cards. This will require at least $12,000 for a print run of 2,000. Like the Fool, we have set upon our path as artists traveling light and spending any money we earn along the way to produce new adventures for our audience, including all the original costumes and sets that our cast of characters inhabit. This Kickstarter campaign will enable us to produce a tarot deck priced accessibly for the average person, and while the decks are being printed, we can busy ourselves dreaming up our next story for your consideration.
Here is how to add items to your current pledge:
How can I change my pledge amount?
Visit the project page and click the blue “Manage" button that appears next to your pledge amount. Select "Update your pledge" on the following page. Then add the dollar amount of the item(s) you would like to get to your pledge tier amount and enter your new pledge amount. The new amount you enter will be the total amount collected if the project is successfully funded. We will be sending out a survey when the project is funded and it will ask you what you ordered, so if you are paying more than the amount of the reward you initially selected on the survey you will be able to indicate the combination of rewards you were pledging for. So if you want both the print of the whole deck and a fine art deck you pledge the combined amount of both rewards and explain it all to us in the survey. Its a bit wonky, but thats the kickstarter way, absurd , like our deck.
Please note: all cards seen above and in the video are from our fine art edition. There may be some very minor changes in formatting due to the differing size & layouts used by commercial producers of playing cards. In addition, the standard deck will be packaged in a tuck box rather than a band and slipcase. Thanks!
Project video directed by Jason Marlow, with music by John Gromada.
CARNIVAL AT THE END OF THE WORLD TAROT: THE BOOK OF FATE
To ask a question is to start a Journey! The Book of Fate is a Traveler's gazetteer, loose-leaf and unbound: it is for you to shuffle and arrange the narrative, it is for you to play with the cards the game of Chance in which the Unseen has a hand and thereby tells a story you may hear--with advice and messages for you--if only you quiet your own mind. The Tarot in its traditional uses has been consulted to forecast the portions to be served on the Plat du Jour of disaster and fortune, to anticipate risk, and to navigate life-choices through backstage access to the players under direction of the Unseen. Traveler, you have in your powers both Will and Surrender, and the Wise determine which to apply or relinquish, assesses what in the forecast is fixed and what is mutable, query what can and cannot be controlled or prepared for, feel in the gut what is best avoided or embraced.
Another piece of advice for the Traveler: keep in mind that the Tarot, of which the Book of Fate is but one conveyance, is a time-tested, well-used method of transport. The Traveler may already be in possession of precious cargo from past journeys--historic meanings and interpretations which the Traveler holds dear to heart—let somesuch serve you well on this Journey if they will, but endeavor also to consider when deploying this oracle the newfangled Interpretation of Dreams and Nightmares presented here readymade especially for this, the Anthropocene, in whatever concatenation of images and numbers, signs and wonders, that Traveler makes from the Book of Fate.
Lastly, worry not if you don't wish to dabble in sortilege and oracular query to peruse a glimpse of what the future may have in store for you! You may also ruminate upon the cards one by one in a linear fashion, and meditate upon the views from the Fool's Journey as one would read a Pilgrim's Progress; or, just as seekers and wanderers once stowed painted icons and gilded relics in the pockets of their cloaks, the Tarot can be a portable trove of mystifying talismanic images to accompany, inspire and entertain you on your own peregrinations.
May you enjoy the enjoyable, escape the escapable, endure the endurable! Bon voyage et bonne chance!
–-Madame Lulu, channeled by the Medium Sarah Falkner
Risks and challenges
Our self-produced poker deck taught us a lot about the management and completion of a project similar to the tarot--and the swift selling out of the first edition showed us that we had underestimated our potential audience in our initial print run. If we reach our goal for this Kickstarter campaign, we will immediately start working with the printer to match the color and quality of our original paintings with the same painstaking care and patience that we deploy when creating our fine art prints.
The deck will be printed on Robusto card stock, an extra thick and beautiful card stock, the best we can find, and manufactured by Expert Playing Card Company. Though we maintain a busy schedule of lectures, exhibitions, and artistic practice, we will accomplish the mailing and fulfillment part of the Kickstarter campaign in an efficient and timely fashion. Should become overwhelmed with sales, we have identified assistants for hire so we can be on top of orders and deliver the decks on schedule.
- (30 days)