Screaming Low-Level Panic

Rhinoceropolis (3553 Brighton Blvd in Denver)

July, 2019

  • Opening Reception: Friday July 5th from 6-10pm
  • Featuring works by Dmitri Obergfell, Jordan Dawson, Trash, Alex Behler, Ike Clateman, Livy Onalee Snyder, and Adrian Wright
  • Curated by Coleman Mummery
Image by Trash

“Individuals are locked into repeating loops, aware that their activity is pointless, but nevertheless unable to desist. The ceaseless circulation of digital communication lies beyond the pleasure principle: the insatiable urge to check messages, email or Facebook is a compulsion, akin to scratching an itch which gets worse the more one scratches. Like all compulsions, this behaviour feeds on dissatisfaction. If there are no messages, you feel disappointed and check again very quickly. But if there are messages you also feel disappointed: no amount of messages is ever enough.” -Mark Fisher, The Privatization of Stress

The cultural theorist Mark Fisher uses the phrase screaming low-level panic to describe the experience of cyberspace in his lecture of cybertime crisis. He argues neoliberalism has created a self-perpetuating control through communication, creating a panic temporality caused by the rapid onslaught of information. The artificial hyper-competition of capitalist cyberspace creates mandatory entrepreneurialism by a consensual hallucination of business and busy-ness: a paralyzing interlock of work and libido. The infinity of cyberspace and the finitude of the organism inhibits the ability to construct a coherent self in the face of constant input. The infinite demands of cyberspace disables agency and produces anxiety.

Instead of engaging directly with the political and cultural forces that create this cybertime crisis, this exhibition is opting to explore a cybernetic demonology of information, possessed animism of tech objects. Demons born from human technology whose hell is cyberspace. In an attempt at soothsaying, this exhibition aims to reconcile our cybernetic and spiritual paradigm.

The polemic of Fisher’s crisis confronts our reality of disseminated information. Will our capacity to communicate save us or crush us in demonic waves of clout? Or more appropriately, how can we free cyberspace itself from neoliberal capitalism?