Lost Treasures Found is part of The Transcode Series, a new collection of artworks by Jono Brandel.
After a career in the coliseum Encolpius works toward an academic degree. Outside of class he yearns for the affection of his boyfriend Giton, the validation of his professor Agamemnon, and the collapse of his once friend and now arch rival Ascyltus. Encolpius, however, is time and again met with failure. His endeavors unravel throughout The Satyricon, written by Petronius in the late first century, in the most bizarre and hilarious ways. Traces of Encolpius’ trials can be seen today in the incredulous stories shared over social media. The reception of these stories, like the original reception of The Satyricon by Ancient Romans, are met with widespread amusement and engagement. This signals the timeless qualities of human emotions in society.
Today, however, digital culture occupies our focus and pushes Encolpius into the shadows. We are not building off our predecessors so much as we are obscuring them. In an attempt to reverse this tendency, Lost Treasures Found offers contemporary access to the story of Encolpius. It presents The Satyricon unabridged and in its original Latin. It replaces key Latin words with their contemporary Emoji counterparts through a custom transcode function. With no prior understanding of Latin, dive into the text and catch glimpses of daily life, from thousands of years ago. The Latin literate are presented with a familiar story set against an unexpected, but appropriate modern backdrop. Ultimately, this book collapses two-thousand years of progress and exposes two distant cultures to each other.
All artist proceeds from The Transcode Series will be donated to Gray Area, the San Francisco project space where the works were originally intended to be shown prior to COVID-19. A talk by the artist is presented on Patch by Gray Area alongside the launch on 2 July 2020.