Artifact

Ticket to Nowhere (Immigrant Edition)

  • January 8, 2018

This article includes both Inbound and Outbound information about this scrip currency.

Ticket to Nowhere / Immigrant Edition (Desert Circulation)

Inbound Artist: Wazhinka Aniza, 1583

Outbound Artist : M Kelley, 2012

Inbound Significance

A significant and monumental change to the desert landscape, economy, and future, the opening of Powell Station on the eastern side of the Kkaxe Canyon was a success won only after decades of hard work, struggle, and diplomacy. To celebrate the event (and to entice travelers into what had previously been considered risky territory), the Department of Travel created a number of incentives for travelers, including limited edition memorabilia accessible only by travel.

As one of the many official artistic efforts to commemorate the opening of Powell Station in 1583, The Department of Travel issued a voucher for a special edition Train Ticket to all one-way passengers who also filed appropriate immigration papers. Handprinted by master carver Wazhinka Aniza, these tickets were created onsite at the printshop at Powell Station, and could be redeemed as part of the inspection process with customs and check-in at the Ranger Station Headquarters.

In the original printing, Wazhinka Aniza was known for their unique and beautiful methods for applying ink: on the blocks themselves, through split fountain applications and with multiple color painting onto single blocks, and after the printing process, through the hand application of additional colors and brushwork. The result created a varied edition whose image was defined by the keyblock but often personalized with custom details evoking the immigrant in question, creating heirloom items prized by their owners.

This replica train ticket, depicted above, was reprinted in 1883 from the original block to celebrate the 300th anniversary. To honor the original intent of the ticket, replicas were struck in a single color – a range of greens – rather than in imitation of Wazhinka Aniza’s technique, defining their creation as a second edition.

The image itself contains the distinctive progression of the train and Railway, cutting across an abstracted landscape motif whose contours, to the Birdfolk aesthetic eye, call both desert horizon and canyon cliff to mind. Six dashes separate the ticket’s “One Way” signifier, representing the six directions of expansion, and the framework depicts cross-juxtapositions of desert cactus flower and feather, and egg and moon. Though simple in design, the artist has used these basic elements to the fullest of their symbolic weight: it is worth noting the artist’s choice to shape the moon in an egg shape outlined in solid “black” (or Darkness), calling to mind the Birdfolk and their connection to Corvus; the feather’s ornamental motif of waves, again evoking Birdfolk connection to the Sea of Crows; that the desert flower butts against the landscape’s horizon motif of stones; that the egg stands separate from the framework in the negative “Light” space of the desert itself, also signifying the Birdfolk connection to the desert sands.

Outbound Significance

Limited First Edition (50 prints): linotype print on arches paper, printed from a handcarved block, 2012

This Inbounds artifact was created as early material for the Inbound Lands, specifically as thank you rewards for Beta Testers who completed the first endgame survey, or who participated in over-the-shoulder interface tests. A small number of the original edition of 50 prints were also sent as IBL promotionals in part of a global mail exchange. In addition, a very limited minor run of artist proof prints – with color and application variations due to test print conditions – exist within the collections of M Kelley.

Though the in-game world “claims” second edition prints as part of game mythology, real world Outbound reprints of this block (in any material form) do not currently exist, and the original edition and proofs are the only copies in existence.

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