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Art + Australia, Issue 3 (54.2): Unnaturalism | Art + Australia

God would never need to ask, ‘Where am I?’ But falling into hell, the Devil might. And if hell is a state of forever falling but getting nowhere, then that unrequited reflection might be the zero-gravity torment of the damned. We catch a glimpse of this, but also of redemption from it, on waking up or coming to. It’s the first thing we ask upon gaining consciousness after a blackout. In our case, it’s not a metaphysical question nor really a rhetorical one (even if muttered to oneself) but a practical one, like downloading GPS coordinates; and yet it’s also universal in implication. It is our human rendition of the divine awakening: ‘let there be light’. What we are when we wake—well, that is already close by as the unquestionable personal pronoun, ‘I’, at the end of sentence. It flips the unconditional, performative declaration of divine being (‘I am’) into a mundane request for news about one’s situation, and thus for defining one’s finitude. Yet our redeeming orientation toward that end—which is what we require of consciousness to barricade against darkness—ironically delivers a death sentence.

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