Careful now. The sleep of reason breeds monsters. Look, they have arrived.
Early morning, a firing squad. Captives at gunpoint.
The sleep of reason breeds monsters armed with a multitude of manufactured reasons. The cool efficiency of mechanistic executions. The gunmen are symmetrical. Stand, aim, hold, repeat. Stand, aim, hold, repeat––a relentless column.
Their target: crumbling, irregular men. One falls, one bleeds, one holds his head. Several hold one another. One prays. One, in the yellowed white shirt of a laborer, holds hands up, his palms already pierced by the nails of the erased cross.
In the center, a lantern. You can see what is coming next, how the soldiers will use its light to perfect their aim. The end will be quick. The march will continue.
See the bodies, finished. One bleeds into the next. The marching column, still bloodless, will move on. Where the order of the machine is the order of the moment, they will be celebrated.
In the background, a crowd with torches, looking on. Someone whispers, monsters.
Careful, don’t look. Here, take this. It will help you sleep.
Inspired by Francisco Goya’s iconic painting, The Third of May, which was groundbreaking in its depiction of brutality without catharsis. Goya’s handling of paint as well as his subversion of traditional symbols inspired a new generation of artists, including Manet and Picasso. On the disasters of war, Goya observed, “El sueño de la razón produce monstruos (The sleep of reason produces monsters).”