fig. 38: Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down, 1996
© Corinne Whitaker

"Seeing, hearing, feeling, are miracles,
and each part and tag of me is a miracle.
Divine am I inside and out, and I make
holy whatever I touch or am touched
The scent of these armpits aroma finer
than prayer
This head more than churches, bibles,
and all the creeds"

unfolding: a memoir

III Spirituality

It is the year 3010. You decide to do some archaeological research into ancient living patterns on the missing planet Earthus Tyrannicus. You tune your cerebral optical channel backwards, scanning for some sign of life in that region commonly referred to by ergohistorians as the Milkus Avenicus. Suddenly you sense what appears to be motion. You have unearthed a time file for the year 2025. Unfortunately there is no codex to translate the bizarre forms you have mindsurfed to. But your excitement is palpable. Maybe this is the beginning of a monumental discovery - the gamma ray particles of that long lost society.

Why did it self-destruct?

What kind of creatures turned their life forces against themselves?

Or did they?

fig. 39: Self Portrait, August, 1993
© Corinne Whitaker

Perhaps we should listen to the words of Arnold Schoenberg: "Art is the cry of distress uttered by those who experience at first hand the fate of mankind."

fig. 40: Universe Birthing, 1994
© Corinne Whitaker

Is the universe dead, we ask?

Are earthquakes alive?

Is the crush of a human shoe God-like to an ant? How much power and knowledge does it take to be God-like? Were Guatemalan death squads God-like?

Are we a proud species, when the South African government permits the shooting of 5500 bull seals and the clubbing of 25,000 pups annually? When their genitals are sold as aphrodisiacs, their hides cured for clothing, and the remains pulverized into chicken feed?

fig. 41: The Haunted, 1993
© Corinne Whitaker

We like to say that the horse is stupid, but the horse has built no ovens at Dachau for his own kind. Perhaps it is humanity's rage at being excluded from the Garden of Eden that propels us from one brutal exploit to another. Else how do we explain ourselves to ourselves, since an indifferent universe seems not to care? Nature has produced us; we produce Crack babies. Do both parents recoil at their offspring? It was Kurt Vonnegut who said, "I fully expected that by the time I was 21 scientific truth was going to make us so happy and comfortable. . . . What actually happened when I was 21 was that we dropped scientific truth on Hiroshima. We killed everyone there."

fig. 42: The Lemon Pond, 1994
© Corinne Whitaker

Digital artists like myself grapple with these issues even as we use the technology to create.


All text and images © Corinne Whitaker.