War is the last possible creative act…. the 20th century’s most important scientific discoveries and artistic creations are mapped¹ in time with the incidence of wars, massacres and genocide² to reveal reoccurring patterns of creative human output that flourish after conflict.

Though the cosmically balancing forces of creation, maintenance and destruction are integral to Eastern philosophies as in the Hindu triad manifestation of the supreme God in three forms of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver and Shiva the destroyer, the interdependence of each on the other is rarely discussed let alone acknowledged in Western Judeo-Christian cultures.

Objects of War brings a computational perspective to the reconciliation of seemingly paradoxical approaches to the cosmological metaphor of creative and destructive balance in the universe³ with the philosophical doctrine of ultimate reality.

  1. The lenticular print displays a matrix of 288 creation events arranged in cells in chronological order reading left to right, and top to bottom. The creation events are the most important artistic and scientific creations of the 20th century. Each cell also displays the most proximate conflict event that preceded each creation. Tilt left reveals the date of the conflict and numbers of dead – tilt right reveals the creation date and details of the creation event.
  2. The six frame animation reveals the separation in time between creation and conflict events – entries where there is no visual change in date means both events occurred at the same time. Animation layers also reveal summation data and meta analysis statistics. Overall, 47% of the 20th century’s most important creations occurred during a conflict or war.
  3. The dataset reveals a surprising relationship where scientific and artistic creations often follow wars resulting in a significant positive correlation between destruction and creative output.