Last night I dreamt about a world where we were required to wear plastic bags over our heads. A dead man sat in the backseat of a car, and an unseen voice told me to pretend he was alive. And somewhere on the rooftop of a parking structure, there was an image or memory that would make sense of my life, but I woke just as I was about to reach it.

Maybe it’s hardwired, this idea of an image that might provide revelation. The cross, the host, and the idol. I read about a temple where an image is treated as the living incarnation of an infant god. Over the years, this belief gradually became ritualized into elaborate festivals. Worshippers prepare food for the image, including fifty-seven delicacies and 125,000 fresh mangoes. They bathe and dress it several times each day. There’s something beautiful in the idea that an image might shape collective behavior, and perhaps it speaks to our relationship with the image world today. This phenomenon also points to the very human trait to take a simple idea and complicate it until it must be torn down and made simple again.

Vatican Shadow – Church of All Images

Kneel Before Religious Icons | Hospital Productions, 2011 | Bandcamp