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Requiem For Dionysos

An accordion book of prints

Requiem For Dionysos

Prophet "I have come here from the east, veiling my godhead in human form."

Requiem For Dionysos

Tocsin "You are a man to make men fear. Fearful will be your end."

Requiem For Dionysos

The King "Reports have been brought to me."

Background, 2003

In The Bacchae of Euripides a strange contagion is sweeping the land of Thebes. The king suspects a foreigner is inciting the people to madness and in his zeal for control he vows to uproot the evildoers.

President George W Bush has ginned up intelligence to invade Iraq.

Dionysos, bearer of wine and joy! Dionysos, bearer of chaos and madness!

The bacchae, his followers, are driven to wild revelry thus threatening the power of the state.

The only logic the enemy understands is force. Only force. We will cut off the beasts head and kill it.

And hydra-headed-like it returns.

Requiem For Dionysos

Sanctimony "This Bacchic arrogance advances on us like a swelling tide."

Requiem For Dionysos

Requiem "I now cover your head, your torn and blood-stained limbs."

Rationalism is a great power. But corrupted by its need for order and its desire to assert itself everywhere and always it leads to destruction. Tiresias the aged prophet foresees bad things to come. It doesn't take a prophet now to see. We have palpably before us an unbalanced rationalism at war with all disagreement and all dissent, in the name of control and security. It doesn't take a prophet to see that such a task is doomed to failure because of the paucity of its own vision.

But neither is the way to avoid disaster easy. Shall we all put on fawn skins and ivy and take up the thyrsus? Who among us is not tempted in their own being to crush and to control? The alternative is perhaps madness. Then again it may be ecstasy. This is hardly a foreign policy brief.

The object of this series is neither to present a clear description of the play nor to give a didactic statement of contemporary politics. There exists both a war within and, more and more, a war without.

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