Perhaps I’ve read too many internet articles lately — on how automation is going to leave loads of us jobless and prone to civil unrest right quick; about the mathematical probability that this universe we call home is really just a computer simulation, but it doesn’t even matter anyway; interviews with a company of office workers who allowed their employer to slip microchips under their skin to ease the stresses of clocking in and buying lunch in the canteen.
Perhaps I’ve just seen The Matrix too many times. Algorithms for errythang. Cloud computing. Cyberpunks. Uber Eats. It often feels like we’re slipping into that comfortably numb place where technology’ll start making all our decisions for us. And after they’ve outgrown dumping shameful amounts of McDonald’s on our doorsteps, I’m not sure the robots will make for compassionate overlords.
Fortunately, I found some visual aids to communicate my sense of foreboding concerning the omnipresent, invisible beams of free WiFi steadily blasting through our soft tissues. The darkly glowing, oppressively atmospheric GIFS of Carl Burton.
His scenes tend to focus on the menacing play of human-forged light sources. Only squared-off screens, blinking satellite towers and domineering halogen bulbs cut through the thick monochromatic gloom. Every flicker off an untended computer monitor reads like an unveiled threat.
They’re sci-fi spaces of our own creation, abandoned, resettled, daring the foolish to try and reenter. The viewer of Burton’s animated loops is barred, forced out by their own devices and left wondering, what happened to us?