Wednesday, April 07, 2010

100000 soldiers

This work was recently on display at the Forum, Norwich where it won first prize. I really like the way the artist has made a subtle anti-war statement in the shape of thousands of toy soldiers, the beginning of acclimatization and acceptance of war to children, all shaped into one giant tomb-stone or bullet. Very few people however seemed aware of this connection between the 100000 soldiers and the combined shape they formed , but maybe my interpretation goes beyond the artist's (whose name escapes me) intentions. Sir Thomas Browne as ever comes to the rescue with an admirable observation upon the cause of war, the single-most remaining factor threatening humanity's survival.

The cause of this war was that of all wars, excess of prosperity. As wealth arises spirits rise, and lust and greed of power appear; thence men lose their sense of moderation, look with distaste on the prosperity of others, revolve disquiet in their mind, and throw over all settlement, for fear lest their enemies’ wealth be firmly established, they put their own to risk; and finally (as happens in human affairs) fall into slavery when they seek to impose it, and earnestly courting good fortune, experience disaster.

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