The seed for this video began over 10 years ago after I read Plato’s “Apology”. Since then it has developed into something more than the story of Socrates’s trial, and execution. It has become a multi faceted nonlinear tale of Madness, Schizophrenia, Rebellion, Absurdity, Chaos, Homelessness, and Creativity. A Transient beauty. Ideas ranging from Camus’s “ The Myth of Sisyphus” and “Rebel” to Foucault’s “The History of Madness”. From Deleuze and Guattari’s “Capitalism and Schizophrenia” to Jacques Rancière’s “The Philosopher and his Poor”. Inspirations vary from Plato’s Cave, to Simon the Shoemaker, to the local Homeless man pushing all his worldly possessions in a shopping cart. In no way am I suggesting to have an answer, a theory, or to draw a conclusion. If anything. Like a Kafka story, or David Lynch production. I only have more questions. And I am perfectly content with never getting the answer, or never reaching my destination like Sisyphus.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” Karl Marx. All this is true, but is it not also the history of Migration. And in fact the History of the Refugee. No matter if you believe in evolution, or some form of creationism. Or if you believe that aliens brought us here, or just messed with the monkeys( like my father once hypothesized to me as a child). Almost all of us are the byproduct of a migration in one form, or another. How many of us live in the same place as we were born, and/or where all our ancestors were born since the dawning of man. Very few I imagine. Growing up in a country created by immigrants, and refugees. How peculiar it is that this anti immigrant, and refugee rhetoric is now our political leaders mantra. This vicious circle of the once oppressed, turning into the oppressor of the now.
Every layer of this video is related in some way to Refugees, Immigration, Migration, and the clash of cultures that ensues. Thrown together like those first early immigrants on Ellis island.
Several years ago I read Adam Smith’s “..A Wealth of Nations” in a effort to defend my “Radical” political views. Something I found myself doing on a fairly regular basis at the time. All though rarely if ever did I run into someone who had read Karl Marx’s “Capital” and who was still anti socialism/communism. I thought the least I could do is read the original manifesto of capitalism. Before I even opened the cover, I had decided that I totally disagreed with everything in this book. And that after I read it, I would be better able to explain why I disagreed with everything in that said book. What I was not prepared for was to find aspects of the book that made sense to me. Adam Smith was not the original “greed is good” Ayn Rand pseudo philosopher I had imagined. He was honestly concerned with the betterment of society as a whole. And it then occurred to me that if he could see what his abstract ideas had turned into with the industrial revolution( which was still in the early stages at the end of his life), and the continued advancement of technology. I believe he would not be too happy. And that he would say that the intent, and core reasoning of his ideas had been miss interpreted. In particular “The Invisible Hand of the Market”.
This Video is not just about showing the similarities between Lenin, and Smith, and their altruistic intent. But it is also a play on the Idea of the diametrically opposed duality. Since ancient Egyptian times dualities have played a major part in all aspects of our lives. The familiar Yin and Yang, Good and Evil, the benevolent and the malevolent. There are countless ways to say this, and almost every religion and philosophy has their own version. Politically speaking we have Communism vs. Capitalism, Liberal vs. Conservative, Democrat vs. Republican….etc. Now I consider myself to be a Communist, but does that mean I have to sleep with Stalin, Pol Pot, or Kim Jong-un. All though the base ideas of Marxism, as well as Capitalism, can be fairly simple. It’s over all application to the world are not. And great Ideas can be misinterpreted to do terrible things. Which is what I think happened with both Lenin, and Smith. Every one has taken a wrong turn at some point in their lives. And sometimes you need to take two steps back to go one step forward. And there can be many different forwards. It is not a black and white world. It is a world of infinite shades, colors, and possibilities. It is not a “ Either your with us, or your with the Terrorists..” world of dualities. And just because two people disagree, does not mean one of them is wrong. It is a world of Multiplicities, a world of layers, a world of Stratum.
The modern day war is a mediated war. No more hand to hand combat. No more face to face confrontation. No more looking at a mirror image of fear, doubt, and desperation. The modern day war is a monitor, a joystick, a button. Following orders of contradiction, stacked upon false narratives, with no end in site. And anything that does resemble an ending, is only a setup for a Hollywood like sequel or reboot. More explosions, more chase scenes, more movie star cameos. Less story-lines, less plot development, less meaningful substance. The modern day war is not mediated to everyone however. It is immediate to many. In a instant. And without warning. And it is utterly Terrifying. It is Terror. It is Terrorism.
A multi layered, and distorted Video dissecting and critiquing the United States NSA spying programs. Using an overload of visual information similar to the NSA meta data collection practices to tell a abstract narrative of a Orwellian magnitude. With the idea that some Science Fiction writers (Phillip K. Dick…etc) might have not been so far off in their predictions of the future. And how in a digital world, everything(including nature) is now mediated to us, and is vulnerable to digital distortion, and corrupted files. And that maybe these distorted, and damaged images can have a new life in a different context. And under a different light can enter the world of the Hyper-real. A world of Simulacrum.
A video Art piece inspired by Mikhail Bulgakovs novel “The Master and Margarita”