There is a cold and aseptic light in the room. It bounces off the paper in my hands and it does not get absorbed.
I read on the newspaper that, for the first time, a machine was able to learn by simply watching and without being programmed. This is the future: the advent of artificial intelligence.
Cogito ergo sum, Descartes said. He referred to humanity and to the irrepressible faculty of thinking, which proves the existence beyond all doubt.
This is no longer an exclusive privilege of human beings.
…Machines are learning to learn, I think, while my eyes glaze over and the letters get mixed up on the paper…
…Machines can absorb great volumes of data, they apply algorithms at an unprecedented speed, they can detect bugs and correct them, metabolize viruses and meet virtual capital flows. And on the optical fibres of global connection, in the silicon chips, in the market networks, as in the huge mutation of a nuclear fallout, a new life is beginning… as independent, autonomous and anarchic as the true power.
They think, therefore they are.
I look up. And I can almost see the representation of the world for what it is. The piece of art on the longer wall is a flash that breaks the veil of deception. This is the most brutal triptych of Francis Bacon: Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. Bacon was the cursed one, rejected, insane, homosexual. Bacon was the poet of the secrets of reality beyond appearances. The characters in the paintings are deformed, the body parts are losing their outline and shape, they are breaking down into blood, bones, tissues and naked organs. These monsters are as deformed as this new life, which is born from the union of technology and money abstraction. And its effects are deforming the world.
When capital flows gush out impetuously, thousands of lights start shining on the city. While the abandoned places silently die and remain in the dark. But also the big cities bend to the new shape imposed by this secret matrix. The cities break down into parts, torn by the rifts of endless conflicts. The isolated suburbs, similar to dumping grounds, are in contrast with the shining luxury and service centres.
The characters in the paintings cry out pain and anguish. The creature of the second picture expresses terror, it is crouching down and its teeth are falling over the open mouth with blood squirts.
Pain and anguish are also spread in the world by the invisible forces, altering the shape of territories and causing a grimace of pain on the faces of men and women. The city workforce squats down with a piercing noise, kicked out by the cavity where capitals are progressively poured. Suburbs are considered useless, and transformed in sterile lands of despair for marginalized people.
The characters in the paintings are screaming out their claustrophobic status and their non-communicability. They are in black, on a dazzling background and they are breaking apart in order to try to adapt to the circular environment. The creature in the first picture seems to show the observer the only possible way out: a black, curved and deadly frame.
Circular financial machines are also claustrophobic. An inevitable path, with no way out. Pension funds necessarily invested in speculative funds, leading the countries to deindustrialization, which forces the factories to shut down, and in turn, their unaware employees are forced to subscribe pension funds, hedge funds, and so on, towards unemployment, inactivity, relocation of companies, and finally new labour laws… Similar curves guarantee the circularity of the mechanism, which in turn guarantees success. In this mechanism, actors do not speak to each other, they often hate each other, but they are as connected as the bones of a single, horrific skeleton.
These paintings date back to 1944 and they convey the essence of World War II, the global killing of the 20th century, my tragic century. Also the global capital “biomorph”, the great Leviathan, is in a permanent state of war. A war against resistances, to de-form geographies, and re-form the remaining Fordist strictness, ruin of the past. Politics bend in front of the monster becoming an appendage of the same. Elections and referenda are irrelevant for the separated life of the organism. Governments are incapable of acting and too far from their electors. Referenda like Brexit are the result of the humiliation of the excluded from the winning urban areas. The value of this vote melts down between the centre and the suburbs, like a revolting liquid. Those who were walking on the path that transformed farmers into labourers, and later into office workers are now lost in the darkness. And such a darkness does not allow us to hope for a better life. The representation consists of a dead body with no innards. Politics are surrendering to capital, the embalmer.
The gallery, Millbank and the whole city of London are shaking furiously… Animals shouts are deafening me… The carcass in the third picture sprays blood and I protect myself with the newspaper instinctively …
Everything bends down, mutates and transforms in front of the invisible monster.