Thursday, October 6, 2011

[ 0 6 ] s o c i e t y o f t h e s p e c t a c l e

The Society of the Spectacle is one that Guy Debord in 1967 philosophizes about in the jargon of a post-totalitarian and post-war world, which strangely enough, has just as much if not relevance to today's society than in the initial timeframe. We are currently a civilization staring at the world through the bifocal lens of the proletariat and bourgeoisie. The former is ultimately the most of us while the latter dictate and govern (which is ultimately most of the government/higher powers) the proletariat. The working class is no longer allowed to view the world as itself but only a representation of itself. This entails that the products that are advertised and sold, and in turn the governing forces and events created, are a social construct only designed to keep the mass community in uniformity while the governors may often only speculate about what is right and what is wrong. This often leads to autonomous control and a cyclical history of rebellion against it, somewhat doomed to repeat itself in a loop through history.

There is a strong debate between the essence of reality and fantasy in these words, which as it turns out, is a primary direction of the artwork and concepts I currently toil with in the realm of digital media (proof that Guy Debord's book holds relevancy now and forever more most likely). The product of fantasy distributed to the masses designed for escapism and/or distraction from the growing tyrant of longer hours and even wages is an ultimate creation of reality, whom the reality is is that of the bourgeoisie who commissioned the use of these spectacles, images, and events to give false importance to the being of the proletariat. Nevertheless in a turn of tables, reality is constantly invaded by the presence of these spectacles and false reality giving weight to a form of representation and illusion in society to all but time, death, and taxes. Those who realize the juxtaposed, polarizing pain become the loner without illusions : separate from the society which is separate to begin with but all knowing and deemed crazy for it. As long a necessity is socially dreamed, dreaming will become a social necessity. Society is becoming a bad dream where we we wish to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep. And the loners are often the sleepers. The dreamers.

The loner without illusion. All knowing. Not congratulated for it.

Those who realize are in far lesser number than those who don't? More false than true. History is a cyclical beast, going far back as the feudal Asian societies where the spectacle to believe in was religion and God. The entity of buddhism itself is of cyclical entailment, where the human mind is supposed to believe they will cycle through the trials and tribulations of life until they reach nirvana. Those were spectacles that took the form of the lie, and thus, with two lies multiplied together it created an unorthodox form of truth. Fast forward past dictatorships and totalitarianism in the early 20th century till now where a current protest is occurring in the form of Occupy Wall Street. It is the ultimate display for this year and possibly decade where the proletariat has experienced enough pain and realization of their own false representation where a stand is made and a change in history is demanded. 

When the representation of reality is undermined by... 'reality'.

I took strong words from the script/word versions of the several films of Guy Debord in addition to the 200+ theses of his actual book. The films say essentially the same aspect of the book, but in a slightly separate avenue more geared to post-modern art and more specifically the art of cinema. It is argued that the art of cinema itself must be destroyed, not unlike how the Dadaists sought to destroy art at the turn of the first World War. The moving image designed as a narrative, by Debordian standards, is already an auteurist creation designed 'to guide' and 'lure' the viewer through a dictated vision from beginning, middle, to end. It as an example of the writer writing spectacles, the cinematographer lighting spectacles, and the director ultimately being president. A technique notably used in Debordian films involve the usage of extended black space and silence for a long period of time, as if to underline the fact to the audience of representing their own reality versus someone else's. 

The best thing I took from this as well was the involving of nostalgia into the mix of these forms of pseudorealities spectacles are creating for society. Not only in film, with the appropriation of past franchises and property (Battleship, the Goddamn board game, for example) into current money tickets for studios, but in every art form construed or advertisement designed. It is half what the product is and half what we are dreaming about which are unresolved events from the past to create our need for whatever product or event that is being presented. The greek definition of nostalgia itself translates to 'pain' and that is exactly what is causes. The more of our childhood that the bourgeoisie relishes upon the proletariat, the more of our of adulthood will become diminished. You could imagine the issues this will cause in not seeing the false representation our capitalist leash huggers brandish. I do. I qualify as what you would call the loner without illusion.

A fitting song for the realization of the spectacle.

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