We all live in two worlds.
One is the world of our own experience. The other is created by the millions of flickering images recorded on film and video.
It is a strange world where the laws of time, space and mortality do not apply.
So many of the images are of people who died long ago. They are the modern ghosts who will never leave us.
It is a beautiful world. But it may not be as innocent as it seems.
It keeps us in enchanted cocoon - a static world that suits the modern system of power.
This system reaches far beyond the old politics - into every part of our lives. It is a technocratic theory of management that wants to keep the world stable. It predicts what you want tomorrow on the basis of what you wanted in the past.
If you liked that - You will love this.
But it wasn’t always like this.
Pauline Boty was a pop artist in London in the 1960s.
She loved America - the songs, the films, the advertisements.
She believed a magical new world could be conjured up out of these fragments.
GROB were the most famous punk band in the Soviet Union.
They came from Siberia and in the 1980s they used their songs to reflect back the absurdity of the Communist system.
The Chernobyl disaster destroyed the belief that new technologies could be used to build a better world.
RISK became a big word among politicians and technocrats in the west.
And a new idea rose up. You shouldn’t try and change the world any longer. Instead you should manage it, to keep everyone safe from harm.
Jess Marcum helped invent THE NEUTRON BOMB. He worked out probability models that showed how the radiation could kill millions of people.
Then he went to Las Vegas and discovered that his models could predict what might happen in games of chance. That if you had enough data about the past - you could predict the future.
And manage it.
CLIVE GOODWIN was Pauline Boty’s husband. He was a TV presenter. Then he went to Hollywood to work on the film Reds. He died there - alone in a police cell.
The LAPD thought he was drunk. But he had a brain haemorrhage.
People no longer believed in the dream of building a better world in the future.
New kinds of heroes rose up. JANE FONDA gave up socialism and started another revolution.
You didn’t try and change thw world any longer. Instead you controlled your body with an iron will.
You managed yourself.
DONALD TRUMP had a vision of a new kind of city based round the media. He called it Television City.
He employed Jess Marcum in his casinos to predict when the high rolling gamblers would lose. So he could manage them.
And the old order died. Nicolae and Elena Ceauescu were shot. Their execution was filmed so everyone could watch and know they were really dead.
And a new managed world rose up in the early 1990s. BODY MASS INDEX and MODERN BANKS.
A world in which everything is monitored and measured. From our bodies and the disorders of the mind - to the economy and the financial system. And all risk avoided.
But there were those who wouldn’t be managed. And couldn’t manage themselves.
Yanka Dyagileva had been one of the leaders of the Siberian punk movement. She and the others had parodied the absurdity of the Soviet system. But now it was gone they had no idea what they wanted in future.
Her lover was Yegor Letov - the leader of GROB. He turned to the past - to Russian nationalism and a new kind of fascism.
Yanka disappeared. Her body was found in a frozen river in Siberia.
Boty Goodwin was Pauline Boty’s daughter.
She went to America. But found it was nothing like the country of her mother’s dreams. Everyone had become obsessed with themselves. Their bodies and their minds.
She too retreated into the past - a vision of an old England.
She took heroin and died of an overdose.
The financial technocrats cut up the toxic debt and recombined it with other loans - to make it safe.
Hidden away with other investments as just another set of harmless numbers. But as they did this the connection of the debts to reality was broken.
But it wasn’t just debt that could be cut up. The computers could also cut up images and sounds. And in a strange way the same thing began to the way we saw reality.
We became surrounded by fragmented and mixed up images of
And the IMAGINARY
IN THIS TWO-DIMENSIONAL WORLD THE LOGIC OF TIME AND SPACE BEGAN TO DISAPPEAR.
Anything could be put with anything else.
It was liberating and enchanting.
But it also meant that
THE FAKE COULD BE JUST AS CONVINCING AS THE REAL.
But the managed world says that everything must stay as it is.
And the images play around us continually - ghosts from the past who will not let us go. Holding us here in a fake world. Stopping us from moving forward in the future - and building a better and more truthful world.
Text an abridged summary of the Adam Curtis vs. Massive Attack event that took place at Manchester International Festival, 2013.