by Roberto Prado
In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation. – Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle
With the above lines, Guy Debord begins his brief, but seminal work, The Society of the Spectacle. He proceeds to describe the sum total of the efforts of Western Civilization as a progression of images, sounds and streams of video. When Debord penned those words in 1964, the spectacle was at a remove – something seen from a distance. Billboards, magazines, motion pictures, television, radio – all of these media were represented outside of the observer’s personal space, over there. In the intervening decades, the spectacle has closed the distance between the observed and the observer, to absorb the society completely. What was once at a remove now forms an integral part of the atmosphere in which human interaction occurs.
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