Sins of the New Millennium – Hampshire College 2000

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Creation

Sins Of The New Millennium began in Mexico City. A professor, teaching “Philosophy of Communications and Media Technologies,” I was invited by artist friends to a planning meeting for their collaborative exhibit with the selected theme of “The Cardinal Sins.” My Spanish being insufficient to keep up with the contretemps, I found a dictionary. Looking up “the sins,” I made a translation from Spanish into English. As each sin emerged I was struck: the original sins are emotive states, basically, feelings: lust, rage, envy, gluttony, greed, pride, and slothfulness.

To my way of thinking, too few children feel pride, and rage is one of the few entitlements of person having been violated. Lust names an aspect of passion or desire, but presents no harm if not physically transgressive. More importantly, if you are wrong for having ‘felt’ something; what hope is there of getting ‘it’ right? Defensive, self-righteous, indifferent, why not in fact carry out the deed? Why not do the thing that has aroused the feeling if already sentenced by sentience? What logic can possibly intervene?

Admonishing someone not to feel, not to feel something in particular, is not only useless; it is more damaging than helpful. Castigation without illumination changes little, or nothing, or worse it incites repressive rage, madness, a catabolism of mind and spirit. Equating a feeling with ‘its’ as yet ‘undone deed,’ penalizing for having involuntarily succumbed to feeling is to invite a kind of schizophrenia of the social; especially if by social, we mean interdependency, mutuality, accountability and reciprocity. Condemning feeling encourages the very dismissal we (will) later fault.

Sin is a/the naming of ‘wrongfulness.’ Sins Of The New Millennium is an attempt to highlight the distinction between moments of feeling and the irredeemable consequences of actions, of probable transgression.

As communities become increasingly complex, we cannot rely on culture, religion, and history, singular and possessive, to remedy conflicts. We live in fear and denial of the many, but it is from the many that we come, and to which we belong. We cannot expect to resolve interpersonal, intra-cultural, and interplanetary conflict by increasing juridical systems. And we simply cannot regulate human behavior and culture by creating more laws. The malformations of ‘interactivity’ instigate a violence, which we each, must address.

Sins of the New Millennium is an imagined appeal. A hopeful, if darkly declarative work, it exists to incite possibility, through critical awareness, using the only material always on hand, ourselves.

version- 2002