But because of the new media interface, there is a new level of complex fragmentation along the axes privacy/secrecy/transparency/surveillance and control/enslavement, causing a ‘mental implosion’, in Baudrillard’s terms—“simulacrum has been brought to perfection in the 21st century thanks to media interface.” The collaged images of face recognition software, smart phone pervasiveness, the statue of Liberty, war-devastated buildings, torn books, “god land” with a Vodafone tower in the background suggest that mainstream media and dominant consumer discourses tailor their surveillance methods according to the selling/consuming axis or what they perceive as fit for their consumers’ needs. What the overload of information has brought is the illusory display of capitalist consumers’ choices (various kinds of coffee, carrot cakes, brownies, smoothies), but there are no nuances in interpretation of cultural texts, and this precisely helps to sustain the capitalist order. As corporate profit dictates consumers’ privacy, Baudrillard’s “mental involution” (a phone is melting like a brain could be melting) is bound to materialise, leading to the loss of the autonomy of the agency, the collapse of subjectivity. The imaginary enemy is ‘identified’, the crisis is created, and innocents die as a result.
“The danger is not actual despotic control but fragmentation—that is, a people increasingly less capable of forming a common purpose and carrying it out. Fragmentation arises when people come to see themselves more and more atomistically, otherwise put, as less and less bound to their fellow citizens in common projects and allegiances.” (The origins of totalitarianism)
“When I was young, I was quiet, I didn’t talk with the others, we never talk, we message… All tenderness is radical in a broken world”… “I want to know, what is a devil today? Do you want to hear the truth? Let the suffering speak. I am a breathing fragment of nothingness. Who lives or dies to care for me.”
Once we become invested in the characters trapped in the dark mirror, we, as both writers and readers, are tasked with the challenging project of finding the way out.