Obscenity begins in the absence of spectacle or scene, when everything is transparent and immediately observable, and when everything is exposed beneath the unyielding and glaring illumination of information and communication. This revolutionary change has fundamentally altered our understanding and perception of obscenity in the realm of art. We no longer partake in the theater of estrangement; instead, we are immersed in the rapture of communication, which has assumed an obscenity.

At its core, the obscene embodies a force that destroys every mirror, every gaze, and every image. It destroys every form of representation. Obscenity was traditionally intertwined with the sexual, the concealed, the repressed, and the forbidden. The pornography of information and communication is a novel manifestation of obscenity in the modern world.

In the current paradigm, obscenity permeates the circuits and networks that support our daily existence. It permeates all aspects and entities, rendering them decipherable, malleable, accessible, and regulated. Being is reduced to a forced process of signification, performance, branching, multiplicity, and unrestrained expression. The conventional limits of obscenity have been shattered, ushering in a new epoch in which the visible is no longer obscure or cryptic, but rather excessively and oppressively prominent.

This escalating visibility raises profound questions about the nature of human perception and the role of art in the era of information overload. This newly discovered obscenity presents me with a paradoxical situation. Accessibility and transparency of information have democratized the artistic landscape, allowing diverse voices to be heard and challenging established hierarchies. However, the saturation of the visible has rendered us disoriented and insensitive, blurring the line between significance and noise.

Art must confront its own vulnerability in the face of this unrelenting exposure. It must confront the paradox of being simultaneously empowered by communication tools and overrun by information deluge. The pervasiveness of connectivity and the insatiable desire for novelty pose challenges to the artist’s traditional role as observer, interpreter, and mediator of the human experience.

In this setting, I consider the importance of preserving ambiguity and enigma in art. While the obscene nature of the visible seeks to eradicate all enigmas, it is precisely in the realm of the hidden and obscure that we encounter the possibility of profound human connection and introspection. In a world preoccupied with instant gratification and constant stimulation, the cultivation of a contemplative space assumes the mantle of resistance.

Humanity’s perplexity in this novel era of obscenity stems from our struggle to negotiate the boundaries between exposure and intimacy, openness and vulnerability. We yearn for connection and understanding, but we are surrounded by superficial interactions and fragmented narratives. The obscene nature of the visible robs us of the ability to be captivated by the allure of the unknown, leaving us disoriented and yearning for a glimpse of the profound.

As a creator, I find comfort in art’s enduring capacity to provoke, challenge, and transcend the limitations of our digital existence. Artists can confront the obscene not by succumbing to its appeal or evading it, but by engaging with its inherent contradictions. They can interweave the visible and the invisible to create works that encourage contemplation, reflection, and authentic human connection.

In this age of increased visibility, the line between truth and falsehood becomes increasingly hazy. The sheer volume of information at our disposal makes it increasingly difficult to distinguish between authentic and fabricated accounts. This epistemic crisis is made worse by the proliferation of so-called “fake news” and narrative manipulation. In addition to exposing everything, the obscene nature of the visible undermines our ability to trust and authenticate what we encounter.

In addition, the immediacy and pervasiveness of communication platforms have propelled us into a state of permanent interconnection. For example, social media has transformed our lives into a spectacle in which we are both performers and observers. Every moment is meticulously curated, captured, and shared, which contributes to a sense of self that is intricately intertwined with the desires and expectations of others. As the lines between the public and the private, the personal and the performative, become increasingly porous, the distinction between genuine connection and mere appearance of connection becomes obscured.

It is our responsibility to examine how information and communication shape our perception of the world and to challenge the foundations of knowledge and truth. We must resist the temptation to give in to the obscenity of the visible and instead strive for a deeper engagement with the complexities and nuances of existence.

The lack of depth and significance in our interactions is one of the most formidable challenges we face. The constant flow of superficial exchanges and fragmented information leaves little room for reflection, introspection, and genuine understanding. The philosopher must resist the allure of the immediate and the readily available, instead embracing the significance of silence, introspection, and deliberate thought. These are the spaces where genuine insight and profound comprehension can develop.

We must reclaim the significance of context and interpretation in a world where information is frequently fragmented. The vulgarity of the visible diminishes significance, rendering everything immediate, obvious, and bare. Nonetheless, the complexity of context, the ambiguity of interpretation, and the diversity of perspectives contribute to the richness of the human experience.

I confront the implications of the obscenity of the visible with intent and inquiry. I oppose the reduction of knowledge to mere facts in an effort to preserve the depth, complexity, and ambiguity that characterize human existence. By engaging in critical reflection, embracing silence, and investigating the relationship between context and interpretation, we can navigate the challenges of this new era and rediscover the profound significance that has been obscured by the overwhelming spectacle of the visible.

Jean Baudrillard, “Simulacra and Simulation” (France)
Guy Debord, “The Society of the Spectacle” (France)
Marshall McLuhan, “Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man” (Canada)
Neil Postman, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business” (United States)
Sherry Turkle, “Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other” (United States)
Franco Berardi, “The Uprising: On Poetry and Finance” (Italy)
Hito Steyerl, “The Wretched of the Screen” (Germany)
Vilém Flusser, “Towards a Philosophy of Photography” (Czech Republic)
Byung-Chul Han, “The Transparency Society” (South Korea/Germany)
Douglas Rushkoff, “Present Shock: When Everything Happens Now” (United States)