In the early 1980s, Samuel Beckett wrote a single-act play “Catastrophe”. Even though he refused further interpretations, he indicated something by dedicating the play to Václav Havel, imprisoned at the time. The play is set in a theater – a director and his assistant are arranging actors on stage. This comical act, without any help of metaphors, allegories or references, depicts very simply the process of manipulation.
Manipulation is the water that makes this world go round. We take part in it, rarely perceiving our own roles. Like then, manipulation techniques are fully functional in our complex information world, and we often consider them true presentation of reality.
The video “Catastrophe” is based on ten compositions, using algorithms with the purpose to simulate a 2D picture so that it resembles a photograph. These “photographs” are a construction. They try to state that they depict reality, that they’re objective to some point. The digital seam on the edges of the picture refers to the belief that this kind of imagery is close to the truth. It’s just a small hint of how the process works; yet there are examples of great manipulations when the corporations create complex scenes in social media, making natural disasters, e.g. results of the climatic change, look purely accidental. Alternatively, they can become parts of the story on “normal” cycle of creating and destroying. Their purpose is to reassure everybody that nothing’s going on. The nature of profit generating doesn’t have to change, then. A crime depicted in the movie can be just a distraction, a strategy to divert your attention from real problems. We’re confronted with the visual culture of human rarity, of egocentric and conformist behaviour. This culture is self-confirming even when it faces complete destruction. For such a look, everything else is hidden in the dark.
What is it?
Abandoned vacuum cleaner?
It’s like walking around a cave,
lit by small lamp.
There’s something narcissistic about it.
Slipper or sandal.
Where the light falls, it exists.
There’s nothing out there.
This has political implications.
Three is badly scanned.
Or a ladder.
Crime trajectory is not
what subordinates to our evidence,
but what we are reluctant to know.
Cup with picture.
Bloody tissue on the scoop.
No. Nine is upside down.
Broken component on dirty floor.
So the question is not:
What happened here for the crime?
But on the contrary:
What’s in the dark?
Why the dark?
Is the window broken?
Again, it’s poorly scanned.