We are going through the post pandemic era, or are we? The pandemic condition may stay with us forever. With the thawing permafrost and capitalist firms still profiting from the crisis, growing numbers of unidentifiable viruses are creeping among us. We’re stuck with social distancing and zoom meetings. They would become a daily routine for the generations to come.
While smart technology has become an extended addition to our bodies and the internet has become our primary source of information - an entirely new system of recognition is built - a system under the control of the powered few. The pandemic provides a perfect opportunity for Surveillance Capitalism to prosper and further invade our life. Referring to the idea that the sense of self -subjectively- is constructed through an on-going dialogue with otherness, how far would that new system affect our perception of ourselves? While free will is being replaced with mechanical algorithms, how much of us still remain behind our decisions? What would one see of one’s self if one is born in the post-pandemic times? Would a coherent sense of a personal identity still remain?
Meanwhile, the concept of home as the psychological locus of all humanity, framing our experiences, relationships, is lost under the continuous invasion of data accumulation. We are forced to be exposed to others and be filled with otherness in a constant connected situation. Losing the space and time for developing inward awareness and reflection, we lose the ability to construct our unique inner sense of self, and that would be a normalized state after the pandemic ends.
I’m using Freud’s theory of dream as a pathway to the unconscious to visualize the construction of identity.
The story is set as a live experiment by a dream analysis company. The first part is a background introduction, providing evidence on the lasting effects of the pandemic and how dreams could be the path to our mind. It claims the importance of dream analysis in the post-pandemic era and implying it being the next source of data for surveillance capitalism to profit from.
The second part is the live visualized dream of someone born into the ever-connected world. This person lacks the ability and will to make his own choices, simply following the instructions from the algorithm. But following an accidental network dysfunction, he grows a sense of identity after being impacted by a great sense of fear. As he gets back online, he tries to gain control over himself. The third part is how he tries to outrun surveillance but in vain. He even loses his virtual home. He wakes up at the end and realizes what he had was just a nightmare.