Nathan, Patrick - Image Control: Art, Fascism, and the Right to Resist
Susan Sontag meets Hanif Abdurraqib in this fascinating exploration of the unexpected connections between how we consume images and the insidious nature of Fascism. Images come at us quickly, often without context. A photograph of Syrian children suffering in the wake of a chemical attack segues into a stranger’s pristine Instagram selfie. Before we can react to either, a new meme induces a laugh and a share. While such constant give and take might seem innocent, even entertaining, this barrage of content numbs our ability to examine critically how the world, broken down into images, affects us. Images without context isolate us, turning everything we experience into mere transactions. It is exactly this alienation that leaves us vulnerable to fascism—a reactionary politics that is destroying not only our lives and our nations, but also the planet’s very ability to sustain human civilization. Who gets to control the media we consume? Can we intervene, or at least mitigate the influence of constant content? Mixing personal anecdotes with historical and political criticism, Image Control explores art, social media, photography, and other visual mediums to understand how our culture and our actions are manipulated, all the while building toward the idea that if fascism emerges as aesthetics, then so too can anti-fascism. Learning how to ethically engage with the world around us is the first line of defense we have against the forces threatening to tear that world apart.