#apathy #survival #whatever (6 min 15 s)
released on 25th of Jun 2014
visuals, lyrics & music by Lenka Hamosova
What if apathy is a survival instinct?
Consumerism is not satisfying people’s needs and desires, but is creating new ones instead. It is a myth, constructed and designed to please you, to comfort you, to make you want more, to fool you, to consume you.
The inevitable consequence of the unbearable lightness of consumerist being is comfortable apathy. But while it seems that an apathetic public is distracted, and thereby in the perfect state for manipulation, apathy is in fact the most political action. Institutionalized power gives an illusion of participation, while it only triggers small local acts that confirm the exclusion of the public from politics. Who said it’s bad, when we don’t participate?
#apathy #survival #whatever reverses the tools formerly created for marginalizing the public as an act of resistance, becoming a survival strategy for the 21st century. Fight apathy with apathy… or, whatever.
The project consists of visual essay in the form of a video and site-specific installation. I’m speculating whether apathy could be a survival instinct – hence the apathy paradox.
The video is a layered flow of thoughts and an endless feed of images. It gradually gets more intense. This audiovisual collage is representing the overwhelming effect of information flow and the indifference towards its content. It illustrates how soothing the information overload can be. How natural it can be to seek comfort in all that buzz, flickering images, ultra-short messages, bizarre coexistence of the truth and the fiction, blending into each other. It’s alright, because we’re already used to that.
What if they gave a war and nobody came?
The essay is a critique of this kind of “comfortable apathy”, which is responsible for disrupting the correct interpretation of visual communication and thus becoming a powerful weapon of political propaganda. However, the manipulating strategies from above can be appropriated by the marginalized social groups from the bottom and turned around as resistance strategy. Paradoxically, when it seems the action is more necessary than ever – remaining apathetic and not getting engaged in struggles, that were designed to become a social trap – is the new, smarter and unexpected act of resistance. New survival strategy.
How can it work in practice? Why do I call it a visual strategy?
First of all – we are not only passively bombed by the visual overload. We are also the creators of the very same visual content. It’s us, the internet users, who have the same access to image-production tools and therefore the ultimate freedom to generate own visual language. What might seem as an unproductive waste of time (creating memes and animated gifs, curating an Instagram account, taking selfies, etc.) is in fact crucial experience for mastering the skills of contemporary visual communication and becoming visually literate. Visual literacy is what makes all the difference. It makes people capable of creating their own unique visual strategies that might have much bigger impact, than any traditional forms of protest. At the same time, visually literate person is less likely to be manipulated by propaganda, because he/she is able to detect the propaganda’s visual language and understand the manipulative intentions.
True contradiction – Dialetheia
The installation was designed for viewers to perceive the video in a particular way. This ambivalent environment is a translation of true contradiction in space. It’s not clear, whether the space is open or closed, dark or light. The mirrored wall is shifting perspective and playing tricks with the mind. Twisting paradox.
installation of “#apathy #survival #whatever”
Dialetheia Graduation Show 2014
26th-29th June 2014
Tollhuistuin, Amsterdam Noord
curator: Agata Jaworska