Utter Journal, Issue 3. Winter 2019.
For My Love Of War
The world implodes in war and all imaginings coalesce around the destruction of another. War is an excess of failure, the culmination of decisions orchestrated by tiny elites and, somewhere in all of this, the child becomes the willing hostage to a militarisation of perception and the youthful affectations of structural violence. The deliberated propaganda and aestheticisation of war becomes manifest, it caresses and seduces, and society seemingly slips into some sort of mythological torpor, blinded by the overriding authority of war itself. “If you’re not with us, you’re against us”… “Support our boys”… “Who’s for the game?”… These lines have been brandished with appalling success for a hundred years. But why is it so easy to set nation against nation? To orchestrate men and women to unspeakable acts? To accept the slaughter of innocents as collateral
damage? The signature of war is its simplicity, its corruption of message, its warrior-glory and the childlike devotion to surrogate ideals of what it means to be a man. There exists a subtle eroticism to war, a sexual prowess, a voyeurism, a flattery of significance, and inevitably this leads to a tussle with imaginings, a dislocation of an actuality that nurtures young boys into seeing war as entertainment, with the adult, playing his or her part by endorsing this peculiar paradigm. The message is reliant
on the disparity between the signifier and the signified and an unquestioned blurring of reality between the child’s world and the adult's world, where each is parodying the other. The ‘collection’ of images in Utter Journal examine this overlap of perception and how war inhabits a perpetual space, engulfing both the world of the child and that of the adult.
There exists within English speaking nations a rejection of reality and a state of consciousness that identifies war as elsewhere. We have not experienced war on our own soil as the all-consuming nightmare that engulfed Europe and Asia in the Second World War, neither are we directly affected by the endless stream of proxy wars fought today in far off countries on our behalf. If you observe English speaking war films, where the main protagonist is a child, normally a boy, their experience is shown as a jolly adventure. It seems this reading of war and the child is wholly unique to our culture. The child protagonist in war films from Russia, Germany, Italy, Czech, Iran, Iraq, Japan, are all caught up in a deeply traumatising and unending cycle of suffering and
upheaval, where there is no let up and no sense of adventure.
In this issue of Utter Journal, there’s no conclusion or attempt to identify with the existential elements of war. Here is no more than a collection of data by one artist, his war collection, his own childlike preoccupation with the overbearing reality of war. At times his denial and naïvety appear overwhelmed by the sheer weight of message and a realisation that, outside the primordial warrior class, we are all swept up as the accidental casualties of deep psychological confinement to the all-pervasive indent of war and an inability to reconcile with the sanitised detachment that has become our burden.