Because of the kind of work I do, I spend a lot of time searching for images. I do not have the skill – yet – to create my own, but I’ve become pretty good at shoehorning what I find to fit the needs of whatever project I’m on. I have noticed, however, in this sea of images, a serious and worrying disconnection from the real. Do a search for spacesuit helmets to see what I mean.
Sure, pictures of cats and donkeys in spacesuits are funny, at first. Sure, the pictures of fake spacesuits used in movies are interesting, at first. Sure, the obvious photographic collages of a guy’s head in a bucket is odd, at first. However what you see after days and weeks of looking at these images is a levelling of consciousness. To the eye, all of these things look real. Because you see them, your instinct is to say that they exist. However, they do not. The image is a lie about reality. It says that whatever it depicts is not only possible, but plausible. I’m afraid that people are being seduced into thinking that what they see is real, simply due to swimming in a glut of manufactured, man-made images of things that are not actual.
I feel disconnected, untethered from what is real when I spend too much time in image searches. It is like the same feeling of being lost that I experience when visiting a large metropolis – so much noise, action, sound, busy-ness, and so little hope. It is a flat world bereft of tomorrow or the past that this image world presents, a world of the constant now. The past is the future; what can never be is what is. Those who are sensitive will feel it too, this untethering of the human experience from the actual, the disconnection of the individual from any individual or shared past.
Cyberspace is the most fragile space, and can become a continued illusion, but this only lasts as long as the electricity flows and the internet signals reach you, and as long as your devices work. Strike any leg of the table and the entire playground collapses.
The screen world is manufactured. It is man’s vanity amplified across states and continents to create a new tower of Babel, a proud idol that insulates people from the real world and keeps them lonely, hurting, fragile, and childish.