The Artifa[ctuals] Manifesto – Part 1

I own a large painting I’ve titled America.

It depicts a landscape where everything is decomposing, crumbling, like the aftermath of a firestorm. All that remains of life is the silhouette of single bird perched on the branch of a single tree. Slicing across the landscape is a horizon line. On top of it a sun sits in abeyance.

Whether the sun is rising or setting we must now decide.

Young people rip down centuries old statues of historical figures they’ve never even heard of.

In some cases statues which stand for the very thing they stand for.

They kneel and prostrate themselves before idols barely a week old.  

Organizations and businesses pledge to eradicate an enemy that is everywhere but nobody can point to. 

To desiccated brains any drop of water is welcome as a revelation.

Hardly is there an institution left in America that is not so thoroughly corroded from the inside out that it is a ready-made whistle for any passing wind.  Now a storm is blowing through and the cacophony sounds like a symphony. 

Corpses are all that are left to animate because nearly every living thing has been gutted.

What’s left of art is farce. Grievance has taken the place of charity. Ideology has taken the place of insight.  Identity has taken the place of humanity.  Certitude has taken the place of mystery. 

America faces a health problem unique in history: obese people so deprived of nutrition that researchers tell us they are in effect starving.

A similar reality affects the American mind: in nearly all things food has been replaced by feeds.

Nietzsche demonstrated that ressentiment has no internal energy. It is incomplete, vulnerable, too weak to survive on its own. Like the virus, it needs a host. To proliferate it needs many. The host has been prepared in the laboratory of Academia for a generation. 

Debate is now treated as hostility; virtuosity as arrogance; independence as belligerence; context as irresoluteness; nuance as obfuscation; selfhood as selfishness.

Academia has marched to the edge of an abyss that it fashioned for and out of itself: both martyr and executioner, death must  be its greatest triumph.  

When did we reach this precipice? When 15 minutes of fame became 15 seconds. When the clock was replaced with TikTok.  

The nineteenth century gave us the Panopticon, a many-sided architecture of surveillance. Today the Panopticon is unnecessary. The goal of those who watch over us is to get us to watch over ourselves so assiduously that their function becomes redundant. 

A new fascistic architecture, a stateless police state—the Omniopticon:  from social media to social distancing to social justice, here, there, everywhere. 

Impatient with the antique machinery of due process, it invades in an instant, and within hours overwhelms. 

In its spectral courtrooms law has no precedence. Innocence is inadmissible. Mercy is spinelessness. Redemption intolerable. Irrationalities a prerequisite for advancing an argument.

Glossolalia is the new lingua franca. The multiplicity of American tongues has been reduced to one.

Words need no purchase on reality to make their point; only their pitch and velocity matter. 

Their function: to intimidate, cajole, silence, make servile, shame. 

You can be sentenced to this Siberia without being moved an inch. 

Everything can be taken away without anything being taken away.  

To protect themselves, facts, maybe even reality, have slunk away from America in horror.

There is nothing beneath the surface of the current so the surface expands exponentially. 

The elusive quarry of history leaps to the present fully formed, there for butchering with a click. 

Two hundred and forty-four years of America in 280 characters or less.  

All roads lead to year zero. 

The bread goes unmade.  

Enough that deranged chaff rising by the millions creates a spectacle in the air. 

In Blake’s myth America, Albion (England) dispatches thirteen Angels, swift as fire and with flaming lineaments, across the ocean to abort the revolution. Those Angels arrive here only to join the struggle for freedom and bring America to birth.

Once children discover a myth is a myth they turn grim. 

Adults know the inner secret of a myth, that it is and it is not. That it stands for the intangible essence of a universal principle or truth.  The Adults have been laid to waste. 

The Children want the Angels dead. 

Continue Reading Manifesto, Part 2

Categories: Manifesto

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