In 2014, at Art Dubai just outside the Third Line booth, I heard one visitor say to another, “You know, I think I’m really starting to burn out on conflict art,” and I thought to myself, Boy, you haven’t seen anything yet. And so it is with culture’s near future.
The battle of what it means to be an individual human being has never been so heightened: the ever-escalating clash between modernity and eternity; jihad versus McWorld; heaven versus nothingness; science versus religion; feeling versus thinking, or whatever you want to label it.
The actions of ISIS and schizophrenic American evangelical right-wing politics are manifestations of the same situation: eternalistic thinking within a bunker that’s being hammered on by ever-more powerful logarithmic and algorithmic technologies, by stunning biotech discoveries, and by a fully standardized and shipping-containerized global economy. Adding a wow-factor to this clash is the nearly overnight eclipse of the Enlightened individual by roughly three billion atomized data-generating online users (at the moment) and what they signal: a rapidly approaching era of personhood minus sentience.