Religion is a fundamental shaper of the cultural, social, political, and written and spoken language of a people, and like the distinctions and variances between language itself, religion charts boundaries and confluences at the junctions between societies. To destroy the language of religion, and the art it has created, is to destroy the very history and identity of those who have created us.
It is with the totality of arrogance and the contradictions of denial that over the course of the last year so-called Islamic State made sweeping movements that helped to erase the reasons and desire for us to exist on this planet, but it remains one of the saddest truths that they are not the only group to have done so through the history of accidents that makes up what may be termed ‘human time’. In a recent article in Art Monthly (AM 394) concerned with the naming and nature of this temporal occupation, and the emergence of an ‘anthropocene era’, Jamie Sutcliffe brought into vivid focus the micro-engagement of biological systems, of which the human being cannot be considered an insular, hermetically sealed entity but rather a construct of mutually interdependent ‘species-assemblages’; a collection of billions of cells, organisms, and bacteria without the static form we commonly interpret our bodies as having. We are as much accidents of survival as the visual and non-visual cultures we have spawned – a matter made painfully tenuous with every new moment of destruction. Indeed, destruction appears to me at least to have had as much energy, significance, and substantiality as our concurrent attempts at creation. And what an indefinably beautiful idea creation has proven to be, both biologically and societally. This is what we must protect above all, I believe, but the issue remains thorny, for creation is on the whole inextricably linked to a greater or lesser degree with some form of destruction.