Written by Deft Beck
Illustrations by Mr. Daco, David Davis, Anonymous


tqf4

F4 MUSIC FESTIVAL INTERVIEW – Íh
conducted by Shao Onai

author_shaoÍh walks into the conference room with his single eye closed. He’s breathing deeply, massaging his hair with his fingers. At first glance, I thought he

was drunk on something from the green room, making him keep his eye closed until he sat down into the chair, his fingers folded. He finally looks at me, without saying anything for a minute or so. I drum on my notepad with my pen as he continues to look at me with a contented expression on his face. Finally, he breaks the silence.

Íh:

Would you mind if I ask you questions?

Shao:

I thought I was supposed to be interviewing you.

Íh:

Me? No, you’re supposed to be interviewing Íh, not I, correct?

Shao:

Yeah. Your point?

Íh:

Sometimes I wonder if there is a point to what I do, anymore. If there ever was a point at all. To answer the obvious question; the audiovisual project is called “Each of Us” and it will come out when it’s done.

I thought to myself “That was easy,” but I didn’t anticipate what happened next.

Íh:

Anyway, I’d like you to stand up from that chair, hold your arms out to your sides and close your eyes.

Gulp. Hesitating, I do so, Íh following suit.

Íh:

Let the room grow silent and think about what brought you to this point.

I opened my eyes quickly and looked at Íh. He has his eye closed tightly. Suddenly, he opens his eye wide open.

Íh:

Close your eyes.

I do so, not before stealing a glance at the clock. I thought “There’s still plenty of time.” I hoped I can steer this back to normalcy at some point…

Íh:

Stand on the balls of your feet and let yourself fall back, steadying yourself before you do. Keep doing this, while imagining yourself at the edge of the widest chasm you can think of. The deepest, widest chasm.

I do as he says. I get the oddest feeling of nearly falling over the whole time. I steal another glance at Íh; he’s breathing heavily. His eye pops open again.

Íh:

An old Cyclopasian exercise to bring oneself closer to the edge of life and death, at least in spirit. Have a seat.

We sit down again, Íh looks visibly relaxed, while I feel like a dark pit has settled in my stomach.

Shao:

Did you learn this in the order?

Íh:

Yes. Sometimes, my order performed this ritual at the edges of actual cliffs. It’s too bad that some people became caught up in the moment, becoming one with death.

Shao:

I think I’ve heard of a human movie about this.

Íh:

Humans were unparalleled in their fascination with death, but the cults did not survive in great numbers past early centuries, it seems.

Shao:

You’ve been checking out the The Total Earth Archive, I figure.

Íh:

It’s been a trove.

Íh:

Why do you think they died out? Pardon the pun.

Íh:

Pardoned. They never died out, the phenomenon just took a different form. Cyclopasians believe in the transience of the soul, with death as a conduit between realms of existence. Anyway, What did you think about when you performed the exercise?

Shao:

Well…I thought about my family, my friends, my drive to always push myself–

Íh:

Even off a cliff?

Shao:

Sure?

Íh:

That’s very common. Let me clear up a common misconception: Cyclopasians are not obsessed with death. On the contrary, they want to understand it. what happens when it happens. What you become afterward. I want to put the stereotypes to rest.

Shao:

Speaking of stereotypes, I’ve always wondered about your public image after you appeared in that Salt video years ago, shooting Jal Mar and his boyfriend in the back. Given, they were playing spies on opposite sides, and you were playing an assassin, but people thought you were advocating against such unions.

Íh:

Quick to change the subject, I see. I didn’t think of it as any sort of statement at the time because I don’t care. Topics like relationships and unions aren’t important because I believe that it’s not a big deal. Let people be.

Shao:

How did you become involved in that project?

Íh:

I was young and I needed the money.

Shao:

Bet you were angry when people read the assassination of two soldiers by a neutral force as a political statement, instead.

Íh:

Annoyed, sure. Angry, no. Anger is a useless emotion unless directed somewhere constructive.

Shao:

So, what do you think about death, personally?

Íh’s hands become animated and wild.

Íh:

Death can happen anywhere, at any time. It’s versatile, efficient. Snuffs a life out like a candle once it kicks in. Some are unlucky enough to see their death prolonged, and they witness the edge of their conscious mind. Like, if someone loses their connection to a spacecraft, without a chance of rescue, they are officially at the whims of the entire universe. To put it cosmically, it’s like the pressure of everything in existence is crushing you until you cease to exist.

Shao:

…Wow. I’m actually scared. Heh, heh.

He leans back on the balls of his chair, smiling.

Íh:

Good. It means you have a healthy survival instinct.

He looks at me closely.

Íh:

You look distressed. Is something on your mind?

Shao:

Actually…well, this is sort of personal, but I’m afraid that my girlfriend might not come back from a trip to the Imperial capital. She’s supposed to be covering an election on Alka.

Íh:

I’ve been there on business, when I used to work for DraCo. If she says the wrong thing, she may run into some trouble. It’s best to play along. It’s a good thing we have journalists in this corner of space. If we didn’t have people to take a risk, who knows what this galaxy might be like.

Shao:

We wouldn’t be here.

Íh:

Not unless there’s a higher plan.

Shao:

Do you believe there is?

Íh:

I keep my options open. Anyway, I hope your friend stays safe. I would invoke the death god, but I think that would be in bad taste.

Shao:

Heh, thanks. Religion obviously plays a large part in your life. What do you think of the current direction of the Third Eye Church?

Íh:

I’ve moved on from the things that happened back then. I put my soul into “Passage” [Íh’s movie] and I don’t want to dwell on the topic anymore. Personally, I think that they have become increasingly insular and secretive, casting a bad light on the entire community.

Shao:

How would you say this attitude has affected your recent output?

Íh:

To be honest, I think my rebellious days are over. Now I’m just trying to reach a sense of closure to my past and help those who may lack understanding of their place in the universe.

Shao:

And your new audiovisual project reflects this?

Íh:

Exactly. It’s an experimental project that explores the nature of space and why we’re out here, of all places. Why this iteration of reality? Why not another? What if the rules were different in another plane of existence?

Shao:

Getting a bit abstract, I see.

Íh:

As you go farther and farther from the realm of conventional understanding, yes. I just want people to stop being afraid of death. It’s a natural part of life, and a beautiful entity in itself.

Shao:

Last question: If you were to die tomorrow, what would you do?

Íh:

Simple. We all live as if we’re going to be dead at some point, so I would say my goodbyes and pass peacefully. Well, I might swing by the Ocian city of Perro and try out that Mad Dog Feast challenge on the coast. Passed by there when I was on my pilgrimage, but I never got to try it. Consider it my last meal.

Shao:

Didn’t expect that. Do you expect to finish it?

Íh:

Expect nothing. Believe everything.

BIOGRAPHY:

Íh Telhet was born on an asteroid-mining ship near the Tehk Belt in neutral territory. After the discovery of a silicon deposit in the belt, Íh’s parents were able to send him to a boarding school in the Death’s Hand colony for clerical study. “I began to understand the obsession my people had with the end,” recalls Íh, who studied at the Clu’th school, affiliated with the Church of the Third Eye. It was there that the Cyclopasian was introduced to the traditional Cyclopasian touch-string, on which he practiced continuously.

Thanks to a scholarship, he then moved on to study biochemical engineering at HeimTech on Alka, where he reported a change in his life.”I began to think that death wasn’t a thing to worry about. Everyone was telling me that you only live once, but such went in the face of all I understood.” From HeimTech, his world opened up, joining the Heim Tech Film Club, where he saw such films as Riri Ral’s “Hidden Lies” and Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner”; he also enrolled in film study classes at the nearby Moving Picture Society. In his latter years of schooling, he travelled to other Cyclopasian colonies, as well as Oonoan, interning in the biohazard research department of the Oonoan Medical Academy.

Upon his graduation, Íh took a chemistry position at Silver Biotech, moving to a satellite branch of the company specializing in biochemical weaponization. In terms of this point in his past, Íh has stayed quiet. It has been theorized that he had a falling out with a high-ranking member of his employer, whereupon he took a personal pilgrimage to the roots of the Third Eye Church. Sometime during this period, his parents were found with their eyes gored out, causing Íh to close himself off from the world. Íh has gone on record saying “The church naturally begets a bit of nihilism.”

Several years later, he emerged from this period of his life, quitting his job and enrolling in amateur documentary work, publishing short pieces of his personal research on the GIN. He proceeded to star as an extra in several commercials shown throughout the Federation, Neutrality, and Empire; his first credited role was that of an assassin eliminating the members of Salt in the music video for “Lawless”, which became an overnight hit, with many eyes drawn to the steely eye of the tall Cyclopasian in the end of the video. With the additional attention, he was introduced to Syrien director Meddi Else, famous for the extravagant, showy music videos of the ballad singer Wings. With venture capital funding, Telhet was able to begin work on an independent film later known as “The Eyes”. Upon its completion, it received the Best Debut award from the jury at the F5 festival, as well as the Best Score award.

With his newfound popularity, Telhet attracted attention for his eccentric habits, such as his frequent hand-washing and odd tics. In spite of this, many remarked on his otherwise amicable demeanor: “He touches upon such gruesome topics, but is of pure heart,” remarked singer Jal Mar in an interview shortly after the release of “The Eyes”. This attitude proved to be volatile, upon his infamous assault of a reporter who attempted to corner Íh in a space elevator waiting room. Íh has managed to avoid constant press attention, often staying overnight in his private studio on the moon Heim. “I really wanted to wear a wig and fool some people for once,” he remarked to the defunct AskF GIN station. In the Heim studio, he created the sounds for a more conventional album, titled “Hours”, published under Lyrica Records, featuring the last known recording of Deni — of Canopy fame — on the track “Float”. The album received universal critical acclaim, yet did not chart high on the iGMC, aside from “Float”, which became the most downloaded track of GSY 2800.

Íh Telhet retreated from the public eye following the release of “Hours,” with the press speculating about the infamous gap in his history. Public appearances by Telhet are rare, such as the tenth anniversary party for “The Eyes”, where he was described as “an epileptic mess”, or his doped-up demeanor performing his charity track “Black Eye” in the Ocian city of Sitia. Despite these incidents, Íh primarily works as a producer for other artists, such as freshman act Beyond The Earth and their self-titled smash success. Recently, he has uploaded several short video pieces in the vein of “The Eyes” on the GIN.

The artist is currently working on an audiovisual project entitled “Each of Us”, to be released at a future date.

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