Monday, 1 October 2007

No miracles here

Nathan Coley, one of Britain's more interesting artists, is amongst the four nominations for the 2007 Turner Prize. I for one, hope he wins it, simply on the strength of this installation, which I think is fabulous.

It was inspired by a 17th century story from the French village Modseine. The village was the site of numerous supposed miracles and magical practices. The local authorities took umbrage to this and the visiting hoards and tried their utmost to stop the village being taken over. Eventually a notice was put up stating ‘There will be no miracles here, by order of the King’.

It represents to me, the ongoing struggle between material reality and metaphysical hubris. In posting this command, the authorities asserted their control over the land and its people, and therefore the miracles that they witnessed - The miracles that they made themselves.

David Hume, in his essay ‘Of Miracles’ (1748) wrote "The gazing populace receive greedily, without examination, whatever soothes superstition and promotes wonder."

So, 'there will be no miracles' can then be understood as an imperative to depart from superstition and the irrational, to empower individuals to take responsibility for their own actions and without reliance on, so-called higher powers.

No wonder I like the piece, eh?

8 comments:

Toby said...

I think it's quite a striking phrase, seems quite desolate. I like it, out of all the artists up for the Turner, possibly my favourite.

jamon said...

Hi Toby,

To me it's not desolate. For all the things that we find miraculous, this phrase reminds us that much of it is created by us alone.

We're the source of miracles then. We need no higher force than our own...

ken hood said...

getting ready 4 town i found $100 strangely in my wallet i drove in , was picked up speeding & fined $100 ! this was since i accepted all humans will finally enjoy endless life thanx 2 'jesus' so it must b true 1 cor. 15 :22,26 best regard s kenny

jamon said...

right...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this interesting article. It's the only clear explanation I've been able to find. It's "hordes", though.

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