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  • Writer's pictureAnne

The Poetry of Symbols

Last night, an image came to mind so I made a quick pencil sketch of it:

There is a curtained stage with a podium, on top of which is a single Dynaudio monitor speaker. In the back, the speaker is plugged into something behind the curtain, presumably an electrical outlet. The audience is comprised entirely of ears, specifically the right ear. There is no person operating the speaker and the ears are not attached to heads, they are disembodied entirely. It can't be determined from the setting whether or not the speaker is producing any sound, but the ears are all in place, either already taking in the sound or waiting to do so, after which the question arises, "if there are no heads to perceive the sound, then are the ears actually listening?"

The piece has the title Modern Fascism since modern authoritarian propaganda transmits quickly and easily through social media. Although social media is primarily a visual medium, the method for conveying inauthentic messages to a large group of people involves the use of "bots," who have no face or personality (and therefore imageless). When individuals become ensnared in a web of untruth, we are no longer active participants in a two-way conversation, but instead become passive recipients, only waiting for an emotional "fix" the same way addicts do. Addicts in the full expression of their addiction are themselves disembodied in a metaphorical sense, and in a literal sense when they die from their condition.

So this image is also a description of the nature of addicts, and the addictive nature of propaganda & social media, as well as an observation that the content or message of the propaganda is irrelevant to the listener, or even the speaker. More important is the constructed situation of "something speaking and something listening." The human-ness has been removed.


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