Obscenity, that which breaches the boundaries of decorum and propriety, unfurls its insidious tendrils in the desolation of spectacle’s absence and the dissolution of scene. It materializes when the entirety of existence lies bare, transparent, and immediately subjected to relentless scrutiny beneath the unassailable, glaring luminance of information and communication. This transformative metamorphosis has irrevocably transmogrified our comprehension and apprehension of obscenity within the artistic domain. We no longer engage in the theater of estrangement; instead, we find ourselves ensconced in the ecstatic embrace of communication, an embrace that, paradoxically, assumes the veneer of obscenity.
At its very essence, the obscene encapsulates a potent force that annuls every looking glass, every gaze, and every semblance. It pulverizes all forms of representation. Traditionally entwined with the sexual, the clandestine, the repressed, and the forbidden, obscenity, in the contemporary epoch, manifests anew in the pornography of information and communication.
In the prevailing paradigm, obscenity permeates the intricate circuits and networks that undergird our quotidian reality. It infiltrates every facet and entity, reducing them to a state of decipherability, malleability, accessibility, and regulation. Being metamorphoses into a coerced process of signification, performance, proliferation, multiplicity, and uninhibited expression. The conventional confines of obscenity have been obliterated, heralding an era wherein the visible is no longer cryptic or enigmatic but, rather, unabashedly and oppressively conspicuous.
This escalating visibility begets profound inquiries into the very nature of human perception and the role of art amidst the deluge of information. The newfound obscenity thrusts upon me a perplexing quandary. The democratization of the artistic landscape, facilitated by the accessibility and transparency of information, heralds a chorus of diverse voices challenging established hierarchies. Nevertheless, the saturation of the visible leaves us adrift, desensitized, obfuscating the demarcation between significance and cacophony.
Art grapples with its own vulnerability amid this unrelenting exposure, caught in the paradox of empowerment through communicative tools and inundation by the torrential downpour of information. The ubiquity of connectivity and an insatiable thirst for novelty present challenges to the artist’s traditional mantle as an observer, interpreter, and mediator of the human experience.
Amid this milieu, the preservation of ambiguity and enigma in art assumes paramount importance. While the visible’s obscene nature strives to obliterate all mysteries, it is precisely within the realm of the concealed and the obscure that the potential for profound human connection and introspection thrives. In a world ensnared by instant gratification and ceaseless stimulation, the cultivation of a contemplative space becomes an act of resistance.
The perplexity of humanity in this nascent era of obscenity emanates from our struggle to navigate the fine line between exposure and intimacy, openness and vulnerability. Despite an inherent yearning for connection and comprehension, we find ourselves besieged by superficial interactions and disjointed narratives. The visible’s obscene nature strips away our ability to be enthralled by the allure of the unknown, leaving us disoriented and yearning for a glimpse of the profound.
As a creator, solace is discovered in art’s enduring potential to provoke, challenge, and transcend the limitations of our digital existence. Artists, rather than succumbing to or evading the allure of obscenity, can grapple with its inherent contradictions. They possess the capacity to intertwine the visible and the invisible, crafting works that beckon contemplation, reflection, and authentic human connection.
In this age of heightened visibility, the demarcation between truth and falsehood dissipates into an ever-murkier haze. The sheer inundation of information renders the distinction between authentic and concocted narratives increasingly elusive. This epistemic crisis is exacerbated by the proliferation of so-called “fake news” and the manipulative machinations of narratives. In its voracious exposure, the obscene nature of the visible undermines our ability to trust and authenticate our encounters.
Moreover, the immediacy and pervasiveness of communication platforms propel us into a perpetual state of interconnection. Social media metamorphoses our lives into a spectacle wherein we simultaneously enact and observe. Each moment is meticulously curated, captured, and disseminated, entwining our sense of self intricately with the desires and expectations of others. As the boundaries between the public and the private, the personal and the performative, blur into increasing porosity, the distinction between genuine connection and the mere semblance of connection becomes ever more obfuscated.
The onus lies upon us to scrutinize how information and communication mold our perceptual fabric and to assail the foundations of knowledge and truth. Succumbing to the allure of visible obscenity must be resisted; instead, we must strive for a more profound engagement with the intricate complexities and nuanced shades of existence.
The dearth of depth and significance in our interactions stands as a formidable challenge. The ceaseless flow of superficial exchanges and fragmented information permits scant room for reflection, introspection, and genuine understanding. The philosopher must withstand the temptation of the immediate and the readily available, opting instead for an embrace of silence, introspection, and measured thought. In these sanctuaries, genuine insight and profound comprehension burgeon.
The restoration of the significance of context and interpretation beckons in a world where information is perpetually fragmented. The vulgarity of the visible diminishes significance, rendering everything immediate, apparent, and laid bare. However, within the labyrinth of context, the ambiguity of interpretation, and the kaleidoscope of perspectives, the richness of the human experience finds its truest expression.
I confront the ramifications of the obscenity of the visible with deliberate intent and fervent inquiry. I resist the reduction of knowledge to mere facts, striving instead to preserve the depth, complexity, and ambiguity inherent to the human condition. Through critical reflection, the embrace of silence, and an exploration of the interplay between context and interpretation, we may navigate the challenges of this epoch and rediscover the profound significance eclipsed 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” (United States)
Sherry Turkle, “Alone Together” (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)