Recovering from the Fall
The arrangement of these three postcards indexed as High School Faculty & Scholars, Central Square N.Y., NORW-LUTH CHURCH AKELEY MINN, and group in front of church functions on two very different levels: (1) They demonstrate a graphic script for community-based visual storytelling; (2) they represent the influential Christian rhetoric of Sir Francis Bacon (1620) and its subsequent impacts upon the notion of redemption.
Firstly, from a strict visual perspective, we see that these three postcards have many similarities. Places of connotative importance provide the background for each of these shots, while communities of believers—be they scholastic, religious, or a combination of both—serve as the primary focal point. What we see emerge is a kind of graphic script for telling stories of communal significance: ‘This is a place that matters to us as a people, and we stand together in front of these structures of order so that we might capture the sacredness of a moment for perpetuity.’ We see that instantiating the importance of these places and times, as well as the intersection of relationships wrapped up in the spaces, in visual form becomes a necessity: The three communities attempt to tell their own stories in the most concrete means available to them at that moment, highlighting their apparent need for assurance of recollection, or one might say ensuring “photographic memory.” In other words, these three images demonstrate the need to and the how to visually copyright momentousness of the moment-us.
Secondly, in this arrangement we see the multeity of the scholastic and the religious as necessary ingredients in the process of redemption. In the Baconian (1620) conceptualization of Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden, mankind lost both its spiritual orientation and its epistemological proprioception. Mankind was no longer in perfect communion with God and also forfeited his encyclopedic knowledge of the natural world. Represented in the similarities between the postcard of children and faculty standing in front of their structure of academic order and the two faith-based communities standing in front of their structures of religious order, we see the Baconian (1620) enterprise to regain what was lost in the fall. Spiritual redemption can be found in the faith-life, while complete (perfect) knowledge of the natural order could be redeemed through scholastic endeavors. Bacon (1620) truly believed that the human being could regain or come very close to the original Adamic state through the charisms of faith and learning. As is so adeptly demonstrated by these postcards, there is a melding of the two streams of recovery. The students and teachers of the school look like the students and officers of the church. They are two communities of “believers”—similar and different—playing variations of one theme: acquisition of knowledge for the ordering of a just and peaceable society.
Reference: Bacon, F. (1620). New organon or: The true directions concerning the interpretation of nature. An electronic form of this work can now be found at: http://www.constitution.org/bacon/nov_org.htm