THE CONTINUOUS + THE ALWAYS-ON
I have timestamped my life, meticulously, scrupulously: as I attempt to close the final chapter on my ever-expanding situational comedy: The Episodic Work_FLOW Concerning Post Reality Conditions. Down here in the seclusion of my Underground Studio Bunker in Washington, DC, I work tirelessly. You see, these times of crisis require extreme measures. And I’m not the only one. No, I am not alone speaking out to the Network, the Third Space, that vast interconnected virtual realm, as isolated as it may feel. I am just doing what I can to survive in the post real, tethered to the Machine, its Brain flashing, the Clock outputting its always-on Grid Signals, which repeat endlessly, hypnotically, algorithms pulsating through my nervous system.
You see, I have relinquished myself to gazing hypnotically at the 24/7 always-on FLOW of Information, THE BROADCAST and its Media Torrent, the Spectacle, the River of Noise that pulsates continuously from THE SHOW that controls us all.
It is nearing the eve of the 2020 Election Denouement. And looking back, I realize I was caught unawares of the full impact of what was coming, as I live, as we all do, in this terrible shadow. Because my existence has been compressed to the ever-present-present of NOW, like the rest of us, no longer having a past nor a future, I couldn’t possibly have foreseen this encroachment on reality until it was too late, until I had become yet another cast member, a captive to the machinations of THE SHOW.
In my continuous present, all I ever really wanted to do was broadcast: everything, Live. To broadcast my Show, The Post Reality Show. The Autonomous Machine I have assembled here in the Bunker runs perfectly in sync with every tick-tock tick-tock of the Clock. I had no idea I was under the spell of the Hypnosis so fully, so totally, until this Machine came to life, routing signal flows in + out of the Bunker, in + out of me. You see, I produce my Show through ingestion of THE BROADCAST, each + every day. I became intoxicated long ago by the MEDIA’s churning, a Torrent of such velocity + intensity + frenzy it has soaked my eyeballs and drowned my ears as I have entered into the FLOW of the glorious splendor of the Media-on-Tap.
Sadly, this Episodic Work_Flow, my epic Artistic Struggle against the encroachment of the post real, may not have a happy ending. Thankfully, mercifully though, the crisis has nearly reached the tipping point, The Denouement, or shall I say the 2020 Election Denouement, which may very well be our last democratic act to decide the fate of human civilization as we know it. And so, I find myself having no choice, no alternative, but to chronicle + timestamp + broadcast + dare I say CHALLENGE, this ferocious assault on the Rational Mind. As I have some degree of expertise dissecting the darkening forces of the Malaise that now threatens us all, I humbly present to you my story, fellow cast members of THE SHOW.
AN INTIMATE BUREAUCRACY
And so the story goes: once upon a time, in what now seems like a previous lifetime, it was during the Bush Jr. years when things couldn’t have been more bleak (OH, was I ever wrong). In the wake of 9/11, when no doubt we needed artists more than ever to confront those perilous times, I created, shall we say, an “intimate bureaucracy,” my own shadow government agency, and transformed myself into the Secretary of the US Department of Art & Technology. With wild-eyed notions of utopian aspirations and visions of grandeur operating on the World Stage, I infiltrated the government like a virus (virtually), burrowing my way into the dangerous cogs + mechanisms of the System.
For a few heady years, I instigated Artistic Action on multiple fronts, across America and around the world. I gave speeches of pure Dada, I called for the end of the War, I issued articles of Artistic Mediation to the State Department, I declared in Berlin: “Ich bin ein Berliner Künstler! and I staged the Experimental Party Disinformation Center in New York City to counter the Republican National Convention.
THE UNDERWORLD OF AMERICA
But it would all end to no avail, dismally, frighteningly so, as war + disaster + catastrophe prevailed, and Bush was re-elected. I was forced to bury the Video Remains of THE BROADCAST, all that was left of the nation, in America’s Grave. Yes on that day, January 20th, 2005, the nation died, and I fled underground to the Underworld of America to chronicle its Afterlife and create a Season in Hell, named after the great poem of my hero Arthur Rimbaud.
The ensuing journey through the Underworld, a ruin of hopes + dreams, with Orf as my Guide, brought me, shall I say, a certain sense of clarity, determination, and yes, Authority! You might call me naive, even delusional, no matter, I had a mission, a role to play, I would discover, through Orf, the roots of illnesses afflicting humanity as we witnessed Souls suffering from Injustice, the Fundamentalist Bible Belt, the Military on the March, the Earth rebelling…
Yes, I saw it all in the Underworld of America, where I captured + documented + collected a vast database from the waste material of the THE BROADCAST, the Remains of which I burned in effigy in the silence of the Desert wasteland at the end of my journey to the bottom of America.
It was a somber, glorious moment as Orf sang his moving farewells, receded back into the Otherworld from where he came, and Season in Hell came to a close.
With my journey through the Underworld complete, I emerged back at my desk in the Bunker and began work on the Show. I now felt like a Real Artist, who had seen the Darkness. I embraced the Danger of my new artistic challenge, ready to take on anything, anyone! Yes, I could see it all now, it was as though my eyes + ears had opened for the first time, it was all so simple, it was staring me right in the face, as I looked around the Bunker at the documentation I had brought back from the Underworld, the wretched mediational toxins drawn from THE BROADCAST.
The new Challenge unfolded before my eyes. You see, while I was down there in the Underworld, chronicling the shock + awe of America’s descent, the World above had changed, forever altered: radically. Much of human civilization had evolved into digital documentarians, broadcasters, Users, and not only that, everyone was giving up their data, obsessively so, fixated on their screens, while super-participating in socially designed Worlds of the Third Space. The Users now inhabited multiple Worlds, only partially in this World, sharing + telling stories virally to anyone, anywhere to all corners of the globe. And, everyone had begun time-stamping their lives, with extraordinary precision! The Future was here and I embraced it.
There was no doubt that reality was not what it used to be. The Users became tethered to their mobile devices like phantom limbs. They were speaking in a new coded machine language of 140 characters with tightly compressed emojis that reduced human expression to what appeared to be an alien symbology. Language had gone viral. Memes proliferating. Cats everywhere…
The human species was undergoing a global transformation, shall we say, an evolutionary mutation, everyone interconnected, deeply intertwined, co-mingling in the Third Space. The global social constructions were spreading like wildfire, and in this new collective reality, everyone belonged to everyone else. No one was alone in the third space. The world was becoming disembodied and distributed across space + time in the ethereal ether, all together as One.
From my vantage point in the Bunker, it became clear, oh so clear, ever so clear, as I observed the citizens of Planet Earth collectively suspending their disbelief to enter into a permanent state of Shared Verisimilitude. Oh my, so complicated, how do I grasp this! I needed a better name for this blurring of reality and the fantastical nature of the imaginary social realm of being, yes BEING TOGETHER in the Network: neither here nor there, but in this New Perfect World of the Third Space. I could see that the Users were living out their ultimate fantasies, reinventing themselves, making their own movies of their everyday lives. Life the Movie! This was a new form of reality and it needed a name, and so it came to me, so resonant and yet so simple: the Post Reality.
I furiously wrote my Manifesto for the Post Reality. “Yes” I declared, “In the post reality, I can be anyone, anywhere, I’ll go viral!” The Users were all Liberated, I dare say, from the old tired reality!! Where once there was separation between that which is real and that which is not, this anachronistic distinction no longer applied: we were dissolving and leaving behind the once arbitrary boundaries that had heretofore shackled human reason + logic. Life the Movie. I am the Movie. I can be anything I wanted it to be… in the post reality.
MOVING AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT
In the first blush of my realization, I zealously embraced the post reality and found myself returning to the Utopian dreams of my virtual government ambitions. In the post reality, I could be anyone, not just a cabinet official, but a celebrity, a star of my own making, a hero! It seemed everything was possible. There was power. I argued for a new kind of art, one that “moves at the speed of light.” I exulted, I soared to new artistic heights: “In my total embrace of the post reality… I’ll absorb the endless stream of mass media and popular culture to reshape them, transform them, remix them, and re-broadcast them back out from wherever they came!”
I suppose you could say I had tasted the intoxicating embrace of the allure of power perpetuated by the prevailing techno-culture, which was busy uncorking a kind of Disneyland elixir of fantasy, wonder, self-empowerment, anything goes. Why not? Watch out MEDIA you are no longer in control of THE BROADCAST! I idealistically thought… you are now in MY world.
And so it then occurred to me, why not, I’ll create my own Show, my own reality show, an artist’s Show: Talk Media for the post reality. I’ll be the star of my show. I’ll call it The Post Reality Show. You see, from now on in the post reality, everyone will have their own Show. Nowadays everyone can be celebrity, a super-star. There are no longer any constraints, limitations, nor restrictions in the post real where you can effortlessly venture across all boundaries of what is real and what is not.
The sky is the limit! If I could create an artist-driven government agency and declare myself the Secretary, well, I could create my own Talk Media Show and make myself Host, Anchor, and Pundit. And why not, this is Washington, DC: Capital of the US Government and the Cable News Media!
My enthusiasm knew no bounds, I was determined, and fearless. I reconfigured the Bunker for Net Broadcasting and made it the mis-en-scene of The Post Reality Show. The Bunker became my alchemical laboratory for concocting dreams and unleashing rants against the Establishment. I rigged up every kind of newly invented streaming technology, I was determined to go live, 24/7, Always-On, to be my very own Internet Broadcast Network, a Third Space Network!
OPEN SOURCE STUDIO
My secluded Underground Studio Bunker was opened up to the World, my diatribes and work_Flow shared virally and accessible to anyone, anytime, anywhere, a performance in self-surveillance. Privacy was a thing of the past. I embraced the revolutionary zeal of the post real, announcing the Bunker as a distributed space of artistic action “where the daily ritual of making art is conducted in front of and for the camera… the open studio goes open source,” so it goes in the Manifesto.
Oh, it was all too good to be true, I thought, to be an artist-broadcaster harnessing the technological and social transformations of the post reality to become the host of my own Show!
I soon discovered the excess of my ever-evolving, over-the-top artistic broadcast fantasy and became mired in its Total Complexity. Was I victim of the techno-fetishism I was so determined to embrace? Had I become just another super-participant succumbing to a brave new world of delusional omniscient telematic presence and social media distribution? Was I being swallowed up by curiosity and obsession for displacement and timelessness chasing illusions of celebrity in the widening expanse of the Third Space? I scribbled notes furiously, I drew up flowcharts, I experimented ad nauseam, I tested ALL the possibilities, and now and then in the best of moments, I managed to transmit a broadcast.
I became concerned. Was the Post Reality Show going to be my ultimate downfall induced by its seemingly unlimited artistic potential? Whereas in the Underworld, I was guided by the wise Orf and the Great Poets who had traversed the Afterlife centuries ago. HERE, in the post reality, everything was new, uncharted territory, nearly impossible to define, just beyond my reach, slippery and illusive.
I turned to the lone wolf Media Visionaries, the astute observers of techno-utopias, who saw right through the veil of technology. I read voraciously, furiously consuming every text that chronicled the Global Embrace of the dark arts of new media. The more I read, the darker it got. Like a menacing cloud passing overhead, I felt a foreboding, a threat in the air, a dread came over me, making it nearly impossible to continue my work on the Show. Reality + illusion + THE BROADCAST folded in as one. I began to doubt myself.
Had I underestimated the hyper-fever that swept through the socially-engaged constructions of the Third Space? Was the distortion of reality in fact a rampant disease, turning Users into automatons who looked out at the world through glazed eyes fatigued by staring at their screens for most of their waking hours? Were we living in the ever-present-present of Now, without a past nor a future, everything for the Moment? Was a new generation of digital natives, who have never known a world without the Third Space, living their lives detached from the physical reality? Was the post reality a symptom of some greater menacing darkness that was taking control of our lives?
MEDIA IS REALITY
I then realized I was no longer in control: my life, my work, the Show. I had entered into a virtual world of no escape chasing after the endless FLOWs of Media-on-Tap. Whereas I had once declared I would “penetrate the social media… the social media will be my stage… that moves at the speed of light!…” this vast diet of information that was intended to bolster my algorithmic self-esteem, this coded language, had entered into and altered my thinking, my Work_Flow, my social relationships. I had become a self-made virus reaching for the Ultimate Fulfillment of a delusional Networked Existence occupied by reality tv stars, glam culture, and media hypsters.
I was being controlled, by all threads and labyrinthine tributaries of the MEDIA TORRENT. I became the TORRENT. I became the victim of my own conception of The Post Reality Show. I had designed a terrifying Machine that output its FEED from MY Brain, which pulsed + pulsed with endless repetition to the Clock: right through my desktop, through me, like an open vessel for the FLOW, I no longer possessed the faculties to turn off the Tap. I could no longer THINK.
I found myself conducting Alchemical Transformations of Digital Materials I had no knowledge of. Torrents of Media were flowing everywhere, in all directions, as noisy electronic signals racing at the speed of light in + out of the Bunker. I immersed myself in the never ending FLOWS of the MEDIA TORRENT, the River of Noise, the BROADCAST as a Live Performance of ingestion. I no longer knew what was real and what was not, all separation had collapsed in on itself. Performance was my reality and my Life was nothing more than an unfinished Movie.
I was alarmed, frightened, at the mercy of my own creation of this Monster of a Show. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t continue. I was obsessed. I became lost in a labyrinth of wires, cables, protocols, algorithms, and data. I was forever patching + repatching the Bunker to piece together this indefatigable digital Autonomous Media Machine that would run continuously to generate an always-on, algorithmically composed Transmission: everything catalogued in a massive Database of BROADCAST contanimants.
In my efforts to produce The Post Reality Show, I had become an input / output data processor, an algorithmic self, a mutated virus, I inhabited the Medial Space, embedded deep within the datastream. I piped in the THE BROADCAST 24/7 to immerse myself in the study of its toxic qualities. I was intent on finding every possible Alchemical Effect to manipulate + alter + rebroadcast this TORRENT of chattering punditry, spinning logos, nauseating advertising, graphic flyovers: pixels set free in endless fragmentation + transformation.
But it was all an illusion, or better yet an hallucination, and all I could do in the face of such towering ambition and intensive exposure was to maintain my Blog, scribbling notes that were mostly incomprehensible, documenting each and every delusional action, thought, idea, and impulse: everything in front of and for the camera!
I was obsessed with documentation, the database, the record, the Archive: everything must be indexed + retrievable! I was a madman of my own historical fantasy, nothing could be lost, although in reality, I was lost + drowning in a sea of information. I continued to Scale the Impossible, to mount The Post Reality Show as a broadcast of my life, to document my every move + work_Flow in the Bunker. At the height of this quest for a Digital Phantasmagoria, I believed I could transform the properties of THE BROADCAST into a thing of Great Aesthetic Beauty. I had already experienced a dazzling disorientation of the senses brought about by the rearrangement of pixels set loose.
I thought of Arthur Rimbaud, my poetic muse, who revealed the artist as a mercurial mutator of the sensorial, and I believed, (yes I truly believed!) that I could resurrect his magic and apply it to the TORRENT. I conducted savage media experiments on myself and the BROADCAST as sensory overload + hypnotic pulsation + maximum chaos. Was this yet another delusional effect of the post real?
Whereas Rimbaud consumed ample doses of Absinthe as his passage to the other side of reality, I believed that by ingesting the continuous FLOW of THE BROADCAST and its contaminants, embedded in the turbulent MEDIA TORRENTS like a deep-sea diver plummeting the chaotic depths of the mediated human condition, I could somehow, against all the odds, navigate my way through the chaos of a woefully out-of-control artistic creation and find the elusive Golden Key that would unlock the mysteries of the post reality.
The Golden Key
And then the answer came, but not without a steep price: the Golden Key that would be my guide through the labyrinthine pursuit of all things post real, or so I thought. In my collapsing world of total confusion, without boundaries between what is real and what is not, there materialized from somewhere, perhaps the In-Between, that liminal place between the Here + There of Pure Nothingness. From out of the darkness, some kind of Nowhere place, a shadowy apparition holding the Answers – descending from high atop his dark Tower – down, down, down the Golden Chute he glided into the bright lights, in front of + for the camera, for all to see. He was anyone he wanted to be: a self-made Billionaire, a Celebrity Icon, a Reality TV Star, and now a Man of the People. He was TRUMP and he was Post Real.
Of course to most everyone he was a bad joke. But TRUMP was the pure embodiment of the post real critique. At first I didn’t recognize the danger in having this real estate huckster as a case study for my work. In truth, I was ecstatic to discover that Donald TRUMP, Star of his own post reality show, a celebrity jester, grand manipulator, charlatan, and Twitter zealot, who cast his spell of suspended disbelief into the Heartland of Shared Verisimilitude: confirmed everything. He was clearly a walking, living, breathing, raging, prime example of the post real. He was ALL SHOW, ALL IMAGE, ALL BRANDING, where any distinction between the real and the imaginary had collapsed in on itself. Had I predicted TRUMP or had he emerged out of my artistic imagination? There was no doubt, TRUMP was the (post) real deal.
As I look back on that dark + traumatic 2016 Election Campaign, it comes into surreal relief in hindsight from this distance, that TRUMP was a televisual specter who materialized out of his construction of a fabricated TRUMP WORLD: a symbol of power, wealth, success, and strength. He injected the artificiality of reality television into the bright lights of American politics, and then gracefully performed his dance of the devil atop the narrow precipice between the real and the imaginary. His viewers/followers couldn’t see it was all an Act, couldn’t differentiate between TRUMP the reality tv icon and TRUMP the candidate, or if they did, they just sat back and enjoyed THE SHOW, like any other Show on television. With millions under his spell, their grip on reality fully suspended, they Believed, oh did they ever Believe, in their TRUMP.
THE MYTHICAL PROMISE LAND
As the campaign pressed on and TRUMP was devouring all of his adversaries like some Great White Shark who rules the turbulent political waters and devours everything in his path, I realized that Trump had become like a prophet in the land of the living dead, an iconoclast leading a triumphant return to some mythical promise land, to “Make America Great Again,” to paint a fantastically huge new reality of white nationalism the people yearned to see: he had become THE SHOW, he had in fact created a dark + sinister SHOW that overshot anything I could have possibly imagined in my creation of The Post Reality Show.
He was devouring the words I had set forth in the Manifesto for the Post Reality, transforming them into the ever-expanding TRUMP WORLD: “The social media will be my stage, the ultimate world stage… where the social hierarchy is reshuffled. It is where individual expression is amplified on a global scale.” These ironically hyperbolic words were originally intended to signify the empowerment of any individual expressing themselves through their OWN MEDIA channels: TRUMP had taken social media and hyper-amplified it into THE MEGAPHONE, a Weapon – creating a direct conduit between himself and the millions of Believers who lived by his every Tweet – to attack his adversaries. He turned the collective nature of social media upside down. TRUMP BECAME HIS OWN MEDIA.
Social media was TRUMP’s mis-en-scene, his performance arena, his powerful TORRENT of electronic signals that pulsed daily through the Network, exploding and reverberating in the collective consciousness via all the cable news channels. The backstage operation of this media takeover was directed out of his secret DATA BUNKER manned by an army of political strategists + Russian Hackers, where each and every voter was being analyzed + targeted + hypnotized to vote for TRUMP or not at all.
TRUMP crushed my operation in the Underground Studio Bunker. He was no longer a useful case study for my post real analysis, he was no longer a sick joke worthy of delirious prose, he had morphed for beyond a chaotic nightclub act as pure entertainment, NO, TRUMP had instead become my worst nightmare, The American Nightmare, a demagogue in the making, the pure embodiment of EMPIRE + Mind Control. A Monster. And, the worst part of it all, is that he had upstaged my Show and every other show: he had created THE SHOW to end all shows.
THE BROADCAST NEVER STOPS
I kept asking myself, over + over + over… what is Real? Is anything Real? The ever-present transmission signal of the Media now only served one purpose: to amplify TRUMP’s political voice. Like an electronic phantom, he became omnipresent, he was Always-On, 24/7, live, his eyes glued to the camera’s red light: LIVE. His presence was like a constant drone that drowned everything else in its deafening continuousness, a disruptive Everywhereness, a vast electronic being filling the void. I plummeted Downward in a spiral of confusion until I found myself swirling in the dizzy overabundance of disinformation. This strangely horrifying TRUMPian phantom permeated the airwaves, was all anyone talked about: he had taken over our Minds.
Nothing is Real. Deeper and still deeper into the super-darkness we go, drifting through a timeless, drifting Broadcast where the machinations resound more + more hollow, a profound and disturbing hollowness, until my head became lighter, floating like air, until Nothing, absolutely Nothing was Real. As the always-on noise of the signals emanated from high atop the Tower, and the social media underground rivers of disinformation welled deep below in TRUMP Bunker Central, it was clear that the Broadcast Never Stops. The BROADCAST NEVER STOPS. Ever. Forever. Timeless. Multiplied. Propagating. Endlessly.
From deep within the Underground Studio Bunker, I despaired. How could I possibly confront this onslaught. It was unstoppable. Relentless. I conducted algorithmic experiments to analyze the hidden mechanisms of control, the sensationalism of the BROADCAST and its seductive hold on our gaze. I monitored this condition, tracking the damage of the FLOW, the TRUMP FLOW, the BROADCAST NEVER STOPS, in order to find a way to resist its penetrating influence + effacement of the real.
THE EMBRACE OF XTREME TRUMPOLOGY
In my effort to grasp this 24/7 suspension of reality induced by the BROADCAST NEVER STOPS, I needed a name for this potentially fatal condition impervious to all systems of logic and reason. So I called it XTreme TRUMPology – those under the spell of the hypnosis of the transmission brought on by the 24/7, MEDIA TORRENT – the Believers. And I took this this idea one step further, from deep in the Bunker, I decided that to fully understand XTreme TRUMPology, I must become it too, embody it, amplify it. I must get INSIDE of its XTreme nature, TOUCH It and release it from within.
This proved to be the Ultimate Act of entering the darkness, of swimming the TORRENT, heading straight ahead into DANGER, far beyond anything I had previously attempted in the Bunker (or the Underworld), nothing less than the act of EMBEDDING MYSELF IN XTreme TRUMPology, in the most extravagant way, to embrace HYPER-TRUMP, fully embodying TRUMPology in its most XTreme form to CHALLENGE the TRUMP Effect. How could I possibly carry out such XTreme punishment, you are most likely asking with great skepticism of this radical approach. How could I survive the noise, the chaos, the TORRENT of the 24/7 BROADCAST NEVER STOPS?
I resolved to create my own continuous FLOW, hypnotic in its repetitions, rising, and falling in the terrifying onslaught of XTreme TRUMPology. I fought fire with fire. I did everything possible to carry out the Disruption of the BROADCAST. Simple (so I thought). I become an open + willing vessel to receive + ingest XTreme TRUMPology, no matter how unthinkable and toxic.
I learned to ride the TRUMP transmission in my body and through my desktop and beyond as TRUMPology manifested itself in a multitude of tongues, rapidly shifting, meandering in all directions, saying everything + meaning nothing. It became my job, let’s say my duty!, to be a recorder of the TRUMPological message, to be the Host of the Noise, the Bunker a willing recteptacle of the transmission, so that XTreme TRUMPology in its purest form could borrow its way into my consciousness and explode in my senses.
I entered deeply into the FLOW of TRUMP and became a surrogate, I immersed myself in the FLOW in all of its immense deception + entertainment. I opened myself up to the BROADCAST, wide open for media ingestion, swimming along the stream of disinformation to absorb its meaning and ignore the danger of any confusion to my perception of reality.
I consumed an unhealthy dose of the TORRENT in order to fully experience its erratic messaging, it abrupt jolts to the nervous system, the surprising juxtaposition of ALL THINGS SIMULTANEOUSLY. I submerged myself in Make America Great Again and transformed it into the Post Reality Show.
I embraced XTreme TRUMPology as the new post reality, a superbly powerful reality cocktail consisting of the perfect mix of celebrity hype, post-apocalyptic disaster, and made-for-reality-tv drama. With XTreme TRUMPology circulating freely through my bloodstream, I understood how the Believers were mentally transformed into a single Collective Mind of cathartic Rage Against the System. I took back THE SHOW, so it could once again be My Show.
MAXIMUM CHAOS OF XTREME ELECTION COVERAGE
Now I was prepared for the 2016 Election with XTreme Election Coverage of TRUMP and his raging Believers, or as Hillary named them – Deplorables – those who armed themselves with ample doses of Bigotry + Vitriol to create a spectacle of hatred and venom that erupts on cue at TRUMP rallies. These are the gutsiest, fiercest, most brazen supporting actors known to reality television.
The task at hand was immense. I felt as though I were living in an alien science fiction movie about a blob who mutates, regenerates, reconfigures at warp speed to destroy the establishment, killing everyone in sight and eliminating the human race. Times were desperate, and as Hunter Thompson so poignantly exclaimed: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
I subjected THE BROADCAST to my digital arsenal of hypnotic pulsations, auto-tuned robotics, media ground to maximum chaos, all forms of warping, flipping, rotating, and other grotesque distortions.
There was nothing too manipulated, deconstructed, incomprehensible or annihilated for XTreme Election Coverage. A destructive force of Media coursed through the body politic and it had to be altered + remixed. Especially FOX!
As the campaign reached its final weeks, TRUMP’s Naked Id exposed itself to all forms of intrigue: sexual abuse, prostitution, slandering, money laundering, financial failure, tax evasion, all forms of crimes + spectacle, but no matter, like the blob, these scandals only fed his monstrous appetite for attention, to be the center of an unscripted BROADCAST NEVER STOPS. I continued my assault, the detournement, XTreme measures that degraded the transmission, all intended (however idealistically) to demonstrate the power of art to counter the FLOW of the BROADCAST that was drowning the nation in electronic debris + excessive hyperbole.
Everyone assumed this was the End of TRUMP, that this nightmare would soon be over and we would all follow Hillary into the sunset. But it was a perfect Storm, a Blitzkreig, with the Russians joining the front lines of the social media wars, an aggressive, take no prisoners, scorched earth assault on unsuspecting Believers, injecting a massive dose of disinformation and fake media that numbed their brains and sealed our fate. The TRUMP MEDIA MACHINE was total and all consuming, its motto: “Make America Great Again” transformed into “It’s Us Against the World” promising to wreak TOTAL HAVOC on what was left of the American political system. Now that TRUMP had removed the few remaining shackles of political correctness, civility, rational discourse, and democratic idealism, he was about to apocalyptically dismantle the SYSTEM before our very eyes.
THE DEATH OF REALITY
And so it happened: TRUMP was elected. Sworn in. Hand on the Bible. Oath of Office. I never thought I would see another Inauguration of Death after the last one in 2005, the day the nation died (it’s first death). But here was TRUMP as the new leader of the free world. Was it possible? Had we lost our collective minds? Had we finally succumbed once and for all to the hypnosis of THE BROADCAST, the MEDIA TORRENT, to allow the Simulacrum of a Politician to rise to Power, to create a “representation of government,” a reality farce of epic proportions, as the system wobbles and struggles to stay afloat.
But there he was, riding in the Presidential Limousine down Pennsylvania Avenue. Impossible. Not real. No on this day, TRUMP could be President because Reality Died. It was more than I could bear. Here comes the motorcade, there is no turning back. Yes, on that day, Reality Died. When politics become pop-culture-driven-entertainment, a made-for-reality-television production, the suspension of disbelief leaks from the screen and emerges into the world, where the Spectacle grabs hold of us and consumes our consciousness in the seductive and menacing glory of the THE BROADCAST.
When we no longer differentiate between serial episodes of reality tv and the hyper-drama of a pseudo government transitioning into Office, when the BROADCAST has only one subject to focus its attention, when Twitter missives composed with rabid, propagandistic toxins dominate social media, we have witnessed the death blow to reality, we have entered unequivocally, into the post reality. It is in this funereal state of human reasoning that the real and the imaginary, fact and fiction, truth and lies, the hot lights of the camera, the sun and stars that shine down from the sky, all blur unceremoniously into a sinister non-reality, a terrifying empty void that resides at the center of thought, where nothing, absolution nothing is real. The Death of Reality.
ANARCHY IN THE STREETS
At first, it appeared that the SHOCK of TRUMP as the newly elected president of the United States was unleashing a new era of 1960s activism + anarchy. The inauguration was an ominous cloud hovering over the nation’s capital, reminiscent of my perilous descent into the Underworld, when menacing military parades and police authority signaled a brutal era of American history: “Its dreams, aspirations, visions of democracy, its idealism, extinguished, snuffed out… eyes wide filled with a dreadful fear.”
The day after the Inauguration, millions of hopeful souls took to the streets and converged to lift us, at least momentarily, out of the gloom: a Resistance: Women on the March! It was like the 1960s all over again, filled with the spirit of hope and defiance.
The fight was spearheaded by the power of women, who more than anyone, suffered humiliation at the hands of TRUMP’s pussy grabbing misogynist altercations and Hillary Clinton’s underhanded, Russian-aided defeat. They came prepared with their pink, hand-knitted pussy hats, which rose as a powerful meme to symbolize empowered, collective, outraged feminism. TRUMP’s rise to power was driven by a vengeance towards the female gender, who would assuredly challenge him, perhaps take him down in due time. There was a fever in the air, the sense of doom dissolved in a sea of pink. Pussy hats galore!!
America is like a delicate immune system that had been invaded by a deadly virus, and women were leading the charge to fight back and immunize against the infection of XTreme TRUMPology. We feared the virus spreading so rapidly through the body politic that it would break down all ability to manufacture reason, invading the arteries of logic with a lethal congestion of the flow of truth, causing disruption and eventually a viral chaos that leads to the Fatal Deterioration of Democracy. The Death Blow.
THE MEDIA MUST BE LIBERATED
I prepared to join the New Resistance by turning to the Great Anarchists of the 1960s, who then wielded the new power of portable MEDIA to fight against injustice and THE ALL-CONSUMING BROADCAST of Centralized Control. The MACHINE. The MAN. Political activists such as the Videofreex blew right through THE BROADCAST, they inserted themselves as the Alt-TV network of the counter-culture covering the be-ins, Happenings, and protests from an inside perspective that mainstream television couldn’t match.
I was convinced that my past years of artistic research into the anarchists of the radical avant-garde of experimental media, who were determined to take on and challenge the MEDIA + THE BROADCAST, had prepared me precisely for this moment. It was now time to act, not a second to waste: to Liberate America from XTreme TRUMPology, which now occupied the White House! I would become a messenger, an agent, an envoy, a herald, to sound the clarion call: a warning signal, whenever toxic levels of propaganda and conspiratorial disinformation reached a dangerous threshold. And so I created my own Internet broadcast network, the Third Space Network, and declared myself Host, Pundit, Producer, Senior Analyst, Field Reporter and Chief Anchor of Media Deconstruction!
3SN was a challenge to THE BROADCAST, an artist-driven Network, The People’s Alt-TV, using the Internet as the PLATFORM for speaking out, to circumvent the MEDIA TORRENT, or shall I say invite the TORRENT of Noise to flow right through 3SN sounding the alarm each and every time there was an imminent attack on our collective nervous system. With the complete and total failure of the mainstream media to adequately detect XTreme TRUMPology, which might have prevented the country from being duped by a master showman of reality television in the first place, I declared at the top of my lungs: We must be our own media! The Media Must be Liberated!! But first I had to dig deeper, much deeper, into the archives, the graves, where the bones of the Media Revolution are stored.
YOU’RE EITHER ON OR YOU’RE OFF THE BUS
In the words of Tom Wolfe from the Electric Kool Aid Acid Test: “The bus barrels into the superhighway toll stations and the microphones on top of the bus pick up all the clacking and ringing and the mumbling by the toll-station attendant and the brakes squeaking and the gears shifting, all the sounds of the true America that are screened out everywhere else, it all came amplified back inside the bus, while Hagen’s camera picked up the faces, the faces in Phoenix, the cops, the service-station owners, the stragglers and the strugglers of America, all laboring in their movie, and it was all captured and kept, piling up, inside the bus.”
Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters captured everything. America became their Movie. They lived the Movie. They used the Media to Liberate a generation that would change the world in the 1960s. I looked back at those socially-activated artists, renegades, radicals, and drug experimentalists who created their own Media, their own TV, their own Networks! They lived in communes, alternative living experiments, with their own media control centers, media busses, pirate broadcasting, bunkers, inflatable housing, Happenings, Acid Tests, geodesic domes, and multimedia churches.
Yes, they inspired the anarchy of the new 1960s, do-it-yourself lifestyle on the boundaries of society, far outside the mainstream culture, well beyond where the BROADCAST ruled. They formed their own autonomous islands, Autonomous Free Zones of anarchic behavior where ANYTHING goes in the form of artistic expression.
Their Utopia was a free and independent society where this is NO authority to suppress the voice, NONE, whatsoever. They concentrated the force of their energy on temporary power surges, animated by coagulations of light, psychedelic drugs, and surprises: a new society emerging from the shell of the old, a struggle toward a different reality. This is precisely what was required to confront the unfolding New World Disorder.
It was clear that I had to create a new 21st century Autonomous Free Zone to take on the growing chaos, the TORRENT of alternative facts, fake news and blatant disinformation spewing daily from the White House. I gathered together fellow anarchical artists and their subversive avatars to join me in an Online Resistance, where we could express ourselves freely and openly in the ANTI-BROADCAST act of Social Broadcasting: an alternative to the oppressive centralization of THE BROADCAST. For 90 minutes we reveled across our independent channels: coagulation, aggregating, coalescing into the live, global, video wall broadcast of the #NeWWWorlDisorder.
Clearly, it was the task of new media activists to take the lead and mediate new outcomes, performances, vision of radical anarchy, and transformation of THE BROADCAST and its disinformation for a multitude of audiences. We would control our own reality, our own destiny, our own medium: a communications revolution.
And so we conceived #NeWWWorlDisorder as a Desktop Circus, worldwide, simultaneous, free, with no rules, order, logic, nor any constraints whatsoever. Another kind of Shared Versimilitude of socially-broadcasted pure aggregated chaos and artistic freedom for this dangerous moment when geopolitical systems were breaking down, borders hardening, nationalism rampant, globalization in retreat, the alignment of nations incohered, disassembled, fragmenting, dissolving.
The #NeWWorlDisorder opposed chaos with more chaos, disorder with more disorder. We fought back with an even greater avalanche of information: deconstruction of the Highest Magnitude, an artistic geo-mashup played out on the world stage.
We grabbed hold and took charge of our social media channels to express resistance to the mechanisms of disinformation, virally spreading our words and actions far and wide, instantaneous, and everywhere all at once through socially-mediated super-participation. Yes, the Manifesto for the Post Reality was still Alive in the #NeWWWorlDisorder!
We retaliated with noise of increasing entropy, broadcasting live from the streets, studios, rafts, galleries, across America, Canada and Europe. This anarchic intervention was of such a scope, that it left behind only a disintegrating trace of memes and unrecognizable cultural artifacts, looping endlessly in the resonant third space of the social media echo chamber. Most of all, we were not silent – we aggregated, we surged, we broadcasted – to carry out a celebration of the collective deconstruction of the political nightmare.
Although I had yearned for a continuous #NeWWWorlDisorder that congeals in beauty and sometimes glorious ugliness, a #NeWWWorlDisorder that erupts in moments of juxtaposed ideas and vision, like the Surrealists, who reveled in the dream-state of wild simultaneities – it was to no avail – America had entered its own dream-state, a state of hatred, violence, white nationalism, racism: humanity numbed and hynpotized by the BROADCAST NEVER STOPS, under the Master Control of XTreme TRUMPology.
By now, there was such a profusion of alternative facts, lies, incriminations, scandals, trials, lawsuits, insults, condemnation, etc., etc., that even XTreme TRUMPology had become increasingly XTREME. It was as though a great SPELL had been cast, everyone frozen in time & space. The effects on thinking and speaking about TRUMPology had become too exhausting, dizzying, nauseating, vile. It was precisely this Existential Nausea resulting from the relentless onslaught that drove much of America up against the ultimate cynical wall of fatigue-laden being and nothingness, a listlessness, a doomed state of “WHATEVER.”
There was no escape from the MEDIA TORRENT racing through the myriad of channels & feeds that we consumed daily: television, computers, tablets, and mobile devices: TRUMP had become omniscient, everywhere, totalized, and ubiquitous. The Great White Shark had devoured the Government, THE BROADCAST, and reality itself. The Machine had become all-powerful: there was no stopping its incessant output of noise generation. The social feeds of Big Data were now polluted by fakery, disinformation, and TRUMP’s daily missives that exploded relentlessly in the neural cortex of Cable News, redirecting them endlessly, endlessly, endlessly in an ever-expanding reverberation and feedback through the electronic circulatory system of the Network and the Airwaves.
With every incrimination, accusation, threat of impeachment, TRUMP grew more brazen, more determined, more outrageous, to the point where all hope was diminished of the cloud ever being lifted, a darkness that was so oppressive, so suffocating, so all-consuming that we all became numbed, anesthetized under the SPELL. The SPELL. The Death of Reality, numbed by TRUMP’s telegenic omnipresence. Yes, the unimaginable could happen, it happened, unfolding right in front of our eyes as the Absolute Mediation of everyday life – THE SHOW – was consuming every aspect of Life in America (and the World).
I sat in the Bunker, staring listlessly, unable to move, speak or act. Like much of the country, I felt trapped in doom, hopeless, unable to comprehend how we had descended to this state. AMERICA WAS UNDER A SPELL, held fast by THE BROADCAST, THE TORRENT, THE RIVER OF NOISE, deafening, chilling, mesmerizing, infuriating, intoxicating, fatal. Had the numbing effects of reality television fully extruded into REAL LIFE ITSELF, achieving critical mass to the breaking point in which every day was just another episode of THE SHOW? It appeared that America was now the SHOW, we had all become unwitting cast members of THE SHOW. TRUMP transformed our reality into episodic fragments of unfolding plot narrative, unscripted, improvised, full of daring bravado, and ultimately deadly. American had received the imprimatur: TRUMP.
And so I returned to the only place where I could cut through the dense, electronic fog of hype + propaganda + illusion + disinformation. I returned to the Desert, a space for reflection, for transformation, new beginnings – not of this world – where Orf had guided me to the Bottom of America so many years ago.
The Desert is a hypnotic space of minimalist input, the rarefication of perception, the intoxication of pure nothingness, containing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE because there are no limits to what can be invoked + brought into this world.
The Desert: contemplation + anticipation, the mysterious + unknown, the unexpected + ghostly, a stage for nightmares and dreams. There is no other place so stark & empty: such a source for the unimaginable.
The Desert is a place where the intangible invokes the strange and incomprehensible. It is a place where silence reveals everything you have ever heard or thought you could know. It is a place where the mind races trying to navigate through all the possibilities of thought just beyond our reach. The Desert is the otherworld.
The Desert is an archive of memories. The heat and distance of mountains & rocks store everything you have ever imagined or desired. The light bakes your dreams until they emerge like haunted apparitions floating over the vast space. Looking out across the Desert landscape, you might think of it is as a vast wasteland of nothingness. But when you look closely, the Desert comes alive.
The Desert reveals itself on a microscopic level, requiring that you make the effort to look, closely, take notice. In the Desert, you are forced to slow down, catch the glacial pace of the environment, + walk + walk + walk until you begin to see what you have never seen before.
In the Desert, I have seen the greatest of all, the power of art to penetrate… It may seem an impossible challenge, but it just requires that you keep on going, you never give up. I resolved to penetrate the spiral of darkness and REPORT, that is how I intend to take action, from the Bunker and from the Nation’s Capital, where darkness hovers over us like some alien force that threatens our civilization. I will complete my REPORTAGE by timestamping my story. Every detail. Every image. Every word. Every thought and idea. Stored in MEMORY. I must never forget, ever.
RAW HOPE OF HUMANITY RISING
The Denouement is at last closing in on this human saga. The only thing left to do is follow the work_flow to its inevitable non-conclusion into the ever-present-present of Now: with precise detail, not missing a thing, timestamping each and every moment. Timestamping is my only defense against the Totalitarian State we now live in today. Timestamping is Memory. Timestamping is not forgetting. Timestamping is Power.
I am exhausted, confused, disoriented, filled with a terrible dread that, once again, after everything I have tried, that it will all be in vain and soon going to end: the Show, our WORLD. But nevertheless I press on, I hold out a small ray of hope of humanity rising, a day of reckoning, awaiting anxiously for the Denouement: the upcoming Election that will assuredly seal our fate once and for all. Each day I am determined TO RECORD, TO REPORT, TO REMEMBER. THOSE ARE THE FREEDOMS we must hold onto in an authoritarian society and they are the freedoms I exercise in the Work_Flow. It is about preserving a FACTUAL RECORD that reinstates separation between truth and fiction, the real from the imaginary: the RECORD is the only antidote to the post reality.
All I have left to hold onto is this document, The Episodic Work_FLOW on Post Real Conditions. In the course of my overly ambitious struggle to complete The Show: EVERYTHING has become THE SHOW. We’ve become a cast of characters in THE SHOW, without a reality, left in a state of suspended disbelief. All that’s left is THE SHOW, devouring THE BROADCAST and everything else. Nothing remains of what’s real. I must Timestamp, furiously, with absolute accuracy.
I have lived for this moment, the Death of Reality, all human life FLOWING in the Media-on-Tap, 24/7 Always-On, The timestamping will go on… and the final work on The Post Reality Show broadcast via the Third Space Network. That is, my only hope, the only challenge to THE SHOW I have left in my arsenal. I need to finish the project no matter what.
So let us gather together before the clock strikes 12, to witness the spectacle of all time: the 2020 Election Denouement. Ah yes, I will be there to REPORT, and I can hear it now, faintly, emanating in some far away ever-present-present of NOW, without a past nor a future, echoing far, far, far beyond the suspension of disbelief. Yes, I hear it now more clearly: “Welcome, Ladies + Gentleman, I am your Host. Pundit. Chief Anchor. Welcome to The Post Reality Show… reporting tonight on this uniquely American Situational Comedy.”
THE EVER-PRESENT-PRESENT OF NOW