The bubble-quote of my traipsing through a park in Sydney, the endless, vertiginous blackness crisp with infinitesimal points, and there knowing the universe itself is enough, I didn’t elaborate on the minutes prior. Why was I walking through University of Sydney at night, alone? Why was I doing even in Sydney? And why is this memory so often recalled.
In this moment, looking up at the vast emptiness somewhere we are in, I knew absolutely there is no god.
I didn’t want to bring atheism so forthrightly into any discussion about my residency or monadologie, for many perhaps not so justifiable reasons including not-stepping-on-toes etc. I know from growing up very religious that people like to hold onto their faith with determination.
I was at a conference in Sydney, the Queen’s Trust Programme for Young Australians, and after a long day assumed the gathering I was sitting around in was for queers. Somehow I realised it was for Christians. I was already tired and emotional, the point of the structure of the week was to induce this, and sitting there was jolted into remembering just how messed up I’d been because of religion. And also, feeling peculiarly betrayed, suckered in, deceived. I was thinking we were going to talk about being queer and somehow that night I really wanted to… oh it’s elusive to remember…
I left. I said something like, “Oh, I’m in the wrong place”, and felt regarded as, well you know, a not quite as worthy person. I walked out, angry, certainly, upset also, this small gathering reminding me of the great villainy of religion that caused me to see every bad thing that happened as I grew up as god’s punishment for me being a sinner, for being queer.
I walked. It was inky in that way only standing in the midst of an unlit park can be, the horizon dotted by lights. I looked at the sky and god stopped. Gone.
I’d stopped believing years before, and praying, but in this moment if I can say I ever ‘became’ anything, I became an atheist.
I wrote this in the middle of the night, the witching hour, and all to say that for me in science i find an imagination far more worthy and joyous than religion can ever provide.
Tim Thwaites came along to one night of monadologie, stayed around for the discussion and later we spoke on the phone for an hour about the residency. I think it’s a really quite beautiful piece about the whole process that he wrote for Cosmos Magazine, and dance, art collaborating with science, especially for the last sentence:
monadologie is an answer to those who are unable to see how close is the link between the aesthetics of science and the intricate patterns found in art.”
I’m also quite honoured and proud, maybe a little bewildered to be in the middle of a magazine full of scientists talking passionately about their work. Photographed with my camera phone for your blurry enjoyment…