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currently on the shelf is Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing. i’ve only read a bit of the actual heart of the archive, as the introduction has me returning to it over & over again:

society of the spectacle

since the majority of the US seems perfectly content within The Spectacle—that is to say, a version of reality where one might think Donald Trump was an aberration and not a result of the system, or where patriotism is defined by what news outlets one consumes information from—advertising, entertainment, journalism and art are all becoming the same thing. through whichever medium or message, it’s all become a kind of lifestyle critique by way of marketing scheme. people demand pathos in their entertainment, as the entire sphere of neoliberal reality is either performed on-screen or enforced against its opposition (and, therefore, ignored).

(the fact we continue to endure massive inequality during a global pandemic while the world is cooking itself & no substantive or realistic conversation about taxation, healthcare or the climate crisis has taken place is all the evidence needed to show how brutal that truth is.)

attempting to participate in this new reality we face, as both a person & an artist, is a near impossible feat. a society that uses art as a way to release its own demons—the way christianity offers forgiveness for sin in exchange for a confession of the soul—will never morally progress. words & actions work in tandem the same way art & governance do.

i look out at the cultural landscape in the united states and see nothing worth participating in, as nothing of true value exists in advertising & everything is now an ad for some way to project morality without supporting any actual change.

a new reality, a new religion

the united states is not a country, it’s a business. politicians are either actors or executives, and culture is all an ad. the entertainment with moral expectations is propaganda for the idea this country has a soul. (spoiler alert: it doesn’t.)

& to that end, there is a limitless amount of poison to identify in a country that refuses to even acknowledge the brutality of its founding. so a limitless amount of potential for vapid entertainment with a light social commentary rests in a blood-soaked history text. a new sermon every week, a new confession, a new forgiveness.

meanwhile, the church of capitalism will continue on its crusade—absorbing every idea, every possibility, until the only creativity left will be in trying to avoid it, trying to salvage your own humanity in anything that isn’t a sales pitch or a product of some kind.


Colin Smith is an artist and art director based in Los Angeles. His interdisciplinary practice focuses on methods of assembly to represent human nature and its relationship to media, language, time, and systems of control.

To quickly get in touch, e-mail hello@.


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