Wednesday, April 25, 2012

the fantasy of control

the visual focus of our market-guided society leads to an obsessive focus on control of one's surface image. in other words, control and manipulation of one's body, especially how it looks, is the aim to which successful people aspire. this aspiration reached, we congratulate ourselves on having achieved a state of alienation from ourselves: we see ourselves from the outside, as an object. control is reached as a symptom not of inner strength, but of inner terror and insecurity. a recent Lexus commercial (for a 2013 model) reminded me of this negative facet of our culture. it used a camera technology which aims the camera at the front corner of the car -- one of the headlights -- and captures the car's progression across the city. what is amazing about the images is how still the car is, even while the city around it, the lights and buildings, dance in frenetic motion. the contrast is mad, captivating. i think this visual trick is a good metaphor for the contemporary ideal American self: an eye in the storm of history. of course this controlled stillness is an utter -- and destructive -- fantasy. what we need to liberation from the cage of the self. it has become merely a platform from which to sell ourselves and our 'brand.' to hell with that!

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