Stef Will

Stef Will

• 16 September 2021

‘At Faith Value’

“Science can flourish only in an atmosphere of free speech.”
Albert Einstein

As mentioned in my last blog post, here come some more thoughts relating to my mixed media sculpture ‘At Faith Value’ that you can see below. I created this work in 2021, as the Covid crisis morphed more and more into an undeniable political spectacle (all the while under the guise of ‘for our own safety’), rather than being about anybody’s health.

For the avoidance of doubt – as somebody with a medical background (I am a fully qualified doctor), I am acutely aware that SarsCoV-2 can be a nasty virus that is sadly fatal for some. However, the situation has been made much, much worse by governments worldwide mandating, coercing, or implementing by manufacturing disproportionate fear, a multitude of ‘anti-Covid’ measures (both non-pharmaceutical such as lockdowns, social distancing, and mass masking, as well as pharmaceutical such as universal vaccines and related Covid passes) that will ultimately cost many more lives than they ever saved … while at same time suppressing early treatments and destroying free society as we know it.

Anyway, I am digressing. Let’s get back to ‘At Faith Value’. I created the work to comment on and encourage discussion about the fact that during the Covid crisis science was turned into a quasi-religion. Nobel Prize winning physicist Richard Feynman once said, “Religion is a culture of faith, science is a culture of doubt”. I couldn’t agree more, as science thrives on doubt, scepticism and critical debate, which propels scientific discovery forward.

However, woefully this important principle is no longer encouraged, as we are now urged to just “trust the science” – take it at face value, or let’s say at ‘faith’ value, without querying anything. In the past 18 months, science has become like religion, a faith-based culture, no questioning or critical interrogation permitted. In fact, any scientific or medical opinion that dissents from the official government course, is aggressively censored, ridiculed, silenced, and suppressed. In 30 years of working in medicine, I have never seen anything like it.

This is the backdrop for ‘At Faith Value’. The work investigates the current death of the scientific method, which includes uncensored debate. It also references the wilful manipulation of data and misinterpretation of scientific results to serve a political purpose.

The piece includes cuttings from newspaper pages as well as bible pages, encased in nine glass petri-dishes (that also show textured, golden blotches reminiscent of microbial cultures), placed in random distribution on an antique x-ray light box. The x-ray box is sitting on the floor. On first impression, the viewer is unable to distinguish which petri-dishes contain biblical texts and which contain newspaper clippings. Only on close inspection, when bending down awkwardly, the viewer can find out by reading extracts from the translucent texts.

The petri-dishes are presented on an illuminated x-ray box in order to explore the subject matter of transparency – revealing versus concealing, which is central to the current political climate.

The necessity for bending down is done by design, as I want the viewer to get into a submissive position when viewing the work. In front of the light box sits a found church prayer cushion (a religious ‘device’ juxtaposed to the medical device of the x-ray box) to further urge ‘postural surrender’, as the viewer is invited to kneel, coercing them into an obedient pose. This coercion aspect also comments on the authorities’ coercive measures we have been subject to in the past (nearly) two years. While we are kneeling at the altar of science, we are witnessing its death.

The embroidered prayer cushion depicts three fish forming a circle on a vibrant red background. In my last blog post I discussed the origins of this Cristian icon and how it is likely derived from a Pagan symbol for female fertility, presenting a simplified version of the vagina or womb. The reason why this particular imagery resonated with me, when searching for a second-hand prayer cushion, was the (suppressed…) discussion about potential fertility issues being connected to Covid vaccines. The colour red may allude to blood, and therewith the menstrual cycle and again female fertility.

I am really pleased with this activism work, which feels somewhat catalytic, and I am sure it’s won’t be the last one I’ll do.