In the Homes of Strangers

Mass culture manufactures a constant and never interrupted stream of anti social and violent images and micro stories that reinforce the status quo for the context of these images is always one with a backdrop that valorizes the state and Capital. Gratuitous violence in the adumbrated narratives from Hollywood is experienced in this narrowly limited mimetic process of the spectator as normal, necessary, and even moral. But I suspect there is even a deeper level at work here. And that is the barely managed self hatred and sense of isolation that intrudes on even the most satisfying fantasy representations. When the subject leaves the screen he or she must navigate the ostensible real world, and that real world is ever more balkanized and hostile and one void of privacy. The subject is also ‘being watched’ as well as watching.

The administered world has reached some sort of threshold moment. The generation born after 1990, roughly, is one that has been born into a technological matrix — in the West. My own anecdotal experience is that almost none of the young students I have taught from time to time is ever more than half conscious. They constantly multi-task, but behind that obsessive compulsive smart phone habituation is a quiet panic of self image, and it’s not just bad self image, it’s more no self image. An absence of self generated image. The mass media product stream is far from completely effective and the gaps and fissures in the facade result in cognitive vapor lock, as it were. And this has to do with profoundly impoverished childhood development of the imagination.

Source: In the Homes of Strangers

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