Homunculus – the small god

In 2021 I attended a workshop with the theme ‘small gods’ (for the Online Museum of Small Gods – an initiative of artist Jolijn de Wolf). In Dutch: ‘Kleingoderij’ (lovely). Quoted from her website:

Welcome to the Small gods project, an online collection of freshly created Small gods. Creating a Small god is not an act of capturing The Omnipresent, Almighty, Universal Entity, but a playful research on the role of god(s) and religions in daily life and society, empowered by visual storytelling.

Participants of the project are invited to cook up their own Small god by filling in a Small book and to shoot a video of themselves representing the Small god.

Imagine: What does the Small god of coffee smells like? What is the emotional state of the Small god of untouched birthday gifts? What does a Small god of boredom do in its daily life?

And the most important question: What do the newly invented Small gods actually say about us as humans?

Jolijn de Wolf

During this workshop, out of nowhere all participants came up with a ‘god’ (m/f/n). With random features, specific looks, and an actual origin story. I found it very surprising (and hilarious) how well everyone could spontaneously come up with a story. My imagination pretty much ran wild. 

My little god was named ‘Homunculus’. After a picture I have once seen in biology class. If I remember correctly, it was about the sensitivity of the human senses, made visual. To illustrate: since the hands are more sensitive than, for example, the arms, the ‘homunculus’ has relatively huge hands.

To give you an impression of the total nonsense I spewed that day about my ‘Small god Homunculus’:

  • Looks: Bodyparts are enlarged: eyes, ears, nose, hands, genitals. Has both pairs of genitals.
  • Maritial status: He is selfish and alone.
  • Material: Flesh, blood, mud.
  • Psychology: Experiences everything super intense, but is still superficial, fleeting.
  • Worship: Homunculus’ followers wear fake, enlarged hands (the one you see during footbal games), phallus, vulva’s and hobbit-feet.
  • Rituals: Followers sing a song in Q&A-form, which sounds quite primal.
  • Rituals: Sacrifice stuff by burning objects that give of a strong scent, good or bad. Inhale the smell and be disgusted together.

Honestly, what drugs was I on?

(none, actually.)
(obviously, I rrrreally don’t need any.)

After writing down some features and stories about our small god, we started creating him (her, it) for real. In clay, that is. And we did a photo shoot with the result. Lucky for me, my ‘Homunculus’ was very photogenic. As you can see below.

From Homunculus Scripture (haha):

For this Small god, it is not possible to have a deep connection. Every experience for him is super intense, but fleeting. Therefore, he is forever frustrated. Homunculus tries to hang on to the moment but he never succeeds. That’s why anger is his go-to emotion.

Jolijn even turned my photo’s into a little movie. Watch out, because homunculus gets a little mad at the end. As we would expect from him. This god is not for the faint hearted.

More Scripture:

Homunculus’ presence is felt extra intensely on the following occasions.

  • birth
  • death
  • sex
  • eating and drinking
  • dancing
  • creating [art]
  • parties and festivals
  • alcohol and drug use.

This Small god runs away from places where meditation, introspection and reflection are happening. So Homunculus’ rituals are full of dancing and shouting and physical contact. Making primal sounds together. Expressing anger during a so-called  “Anger celebration”. Stimulating your senses. Getting yourself dirty. Being disgusted together.

The Small god made itself known to the world from an internal force in human beings.

Human kind felt like this Small god had always been there, in the form of the senses. But human senses are only the “light” version of the Homunculus. Because this Small god is experiencing everything extra intense and is therefore addicted to experiences.

People went searching for the same intensity and found… him.

Of course, Homunculus is not the only Small god. Apparently, there’s a Small god of dust. A Small god of procrastination. A Small god of dark mass. And a Small hamster god called Sonja. They can all be viewed [and worshipped] via the link below, to Jolijns online museum.