In the process of reading into the background of Adam Curtis’s recent film, HyperNormalisation, I came across this interview with Curtis and Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja for Vice that I thought worthy of its own moment in the sunshine. A few paragraphs in particular stood out.
Adam: Robert was absolutely right when he said about most things you go to now being eye candy, there’s absolutely no meaning to it. What we’re trying to get at is that, actually, there is a meaning to all that. That modern contemporary culture is not passive, and that art shows and rock shows might not really be radical and free. They might actually be the complete opposite. Actually the images that you see and the recorded sounds that are endlessly played back to you often are actually quite repressive. They’re a sort of way of keeping us trapped in the past, replaying the past.
In the light of Brexit the idea we’re stuck in a perpetual vision of the past being repacked as the future in order to hold us back, while at the same time trying to replay the perceived glories of the past is real. We’re being fed the idea that post Brexit the UK will trade tea and jam as some twee dystopia lies in front of us.
Adam: The guiding ideology of our time is: “If you like this, then you will love that”. That basically means, “If you like yesterday we are going to give you more of yesterday so you never get a tomorrow”.
Nostalgia seems to dominate. We never move on, never progress, never find new culture or ideas to grow into. Others have pointed this out often but the more we retreat into twee Hipsterism, safe spaces and dream of a land we never experienced first hand that never actually existed anyhow, we never actually solve anything. That means when politicians occasionally do present a positive vision of the future but one that involves change that dumps the past for a new future it fails because fear of the future is a huge thing some people will not be able to get past.
The UK is turning into a twee nightmare. People retreat to the past to hide from the present and wring their hands saying ”something must be done” while Tweeting hashtags, and in the process doing nothing. We’ve become a dystopia where we’re managed in our jobs and lives yet we never become angry enough to change things because the past traps us for our future.
Bleak isn’t it? We can change though it’ll take work, and perhaps the realities of Brexit might be that impetus for people to wake up enough to get angry enough to change things?