So onto the unconscious. Through my writing, I am beginning to explore some of the machinations behind the way images could manipulate us.
I'm using fiction
as a device, in a very straightforward way I am trying to say the stories I am writing are not stories. Rather they are theoretical explorations of some of the key themes I am discussing here with you today. Where fiction plays the role of a tool, and I'm using the tropes of fiction to engage with this digital mythology layer. So the development of this project is a a world-building building exercise of mine.
S.O.U.L. which is an acronym standing for. Systemic Obfuscation of User Liberalism is a frame around how we currently live and the increasing distance we take from objective physical reality.
It is a framework to try and decode the way we move back and forth between real spaces and digital spaces and how that affects our behaviour and changes the way we see ourselves regarding identity, gender and sexuality, exploring digital isolation and isolationism.
Some of the world-building exercises are visual; mostly it is all driven by original texts, all the stories within S.O.U.L. slot into a predesigned world. I mean, you can probably explain to you better than I can. (a digital voice takes over the presentation for a moment) "S O U L is an organisational body realised to ensure an individual has the capacity for self-generated classification to safeguard the virility of future dreams. Members of S O U L worked side-by-side with dream personnel at locations around the world to ensure seamless integration of simulated experiences with less tangible aspirations."
I didn't understand that either, but basically what's happening here is a sardonic take on digital life and of course social media infrastructure and algorithmic guidance very much at the helm of this new lived experience.
I was interested in what happens when your own dreams are actually determined for you without you knowing about it. So this slightly rogue organisation sets out to do this for you. The basic premise of this project is that you, a user, can visit this dream-based world. And to find out more, there will be some F.A.Q.'s, as per a typical website, which attempts to explain what S.O.U.L. does and how it can benefit you.
But as the user goes through these questions, they become more confused due to the increasing obfuscation. Each story in the book is related to a different question in the world of S.O.U.L.
I've listed a few of them here. Each story takes tiny moments of digital life and extrapolates.. So for example, at the bottom there, you see one titled "Mr. Interracial".
I am interested in how we can read data to tell truths about ourselves. If you look at data from the porn industry (which is becoming more and more mainstream), you can determine a lot about our behaviours, the information we're privy to and our desires.
For example, one of the most prominent search terms in the U.S. on porn websites was 'Arab', which I found interesting especially when considering the role of the media concerning what gets us off and what this data does in terms of determining what that narrative is creating the narrative of the other..
And then how does this relate to desire? Obviously, our desires are often related to what we consider to be, you know, a little bit distant, or other from ourselves.
So I used some of these porn-based data points to create characters within the story. It was an opportunity to talk about the reductive tropes built out of economic histories that have such a profound effect on us today.
And this is one example of many ways I am trying to tackle the mythology of images that I don't think we ask enough questions.
I am very interested in progress. I am very interested in where we can be with storytelling, but I don't believe that we can evolve storytelling if we don't understand the language.