Observatori, Valencia

May 11-13, 2007: as winner of the ARCO new media prize 2007, Fascinum is exhibited at Observatori, 8º Festival Internacional de Investigación Artística de Valencia.

Fascinum is an Internet installation that shows the pictures from the daily news that are the most viewed (ranked from 1 to 10) on different national Yahoo websites, in real time. The viewer surfs on the infotainment tsunami and experiences the paradoxes of global thinking in a blink.

This real-time vision of the topics of fascination of mankind echoes the idea of the Panopticon, a type of prison conceived by English philosopher Jeremy Bentham at the end of the Enlightenments. Its concept is to allow an observer to watch over all prisoners without the prisoners being able to tell if they are being observed or not. This “sentiment of an invisible omniscience” is to be compared with the trends that are unveiled by the global symbolic structures like Yahoo and Google as models for our contemporary and near future society, of our popmodernity.

Of course the difference with the Panopticon is that here, you are also the observer of your own fascination, as victim and accomplice of the global snuff movie. You are both the warden and the prisoner. You are mashed-up and torn apart between spectacle and control. Glance looks at itself.

The post-fordist acounting of the glance that is here play is only one of the new phenomenons that the network has implemented as the new forms of capitalism at the “Age of Access”: CAPITALISM 2.0. This trend is a large scale trend: as the world-system reaches its limitations (depletion of natural resources, expected end of low-cost labour, the end of the ideology of liberalism, the fading of desire, etc.), capitalism relaunches its machinery by pushing back its internal limits:  the new stake is the endless Eldorado of the colonization of intimacy.

Christophe Bruno