America: Suspended Land | 2007

Hyper-Real Postcards

 

“America is neither dream nor reality. It is a hyper-reality; because it is a Utopia that has behaved from the very beginning as though it were already achieved.” —Jean Baudrillard, America

America is an entirely modern experience; a genuine utopian realization of a series of interrupted referrals that are candidly unreal. It is overabundance of meaning in a series of fantastical and impossible images, piled up like the postcards of an enthusiastic, yet disoriented, tourist.

Being American is an obsessive attempt to gain access to a symmetric proportion that is sterile and flawed. America is a vast expanse of contradictions and vanities, filled with anguish and dismay. It is an extremely individualistic society, comprised of a collection of lonesome, gloomy figures; a united nation that is collaged from heterogeneous minorities; a frail and friable body that is nevertheless coherent and puissant; an inverted metaphor for the Promised Land.

America is fast. Its ever-contracted and shivering muscles resemble involuntary movements of a sleepwalker. It is a breathtaking magic in a unique American style: fast foods, skyscrapers, machine guns, Hollywood, and fear of terrorism.

Exploring America is tantamount to a microscopic study of cultural, ethnic, and racial conglomeration that has artificially constructed traditional functions for the new American civilization. It is a boundary in which an indefinite variety of figures, tastes, and languages do not exempt its populace from a doubly horrible isolation.

Moreover, the representation of America and the experience of being American entails a multi-layered research into a gaudy arena with a breathless pace, replete with carefree, family-loving, patriotic, sentimental people that encompass the city, with its streets and skyscrapers. In short, it is a meditation on the revelation of ever-active racial, linguistic, and sexual gaps in a sociopolitical prospect that is constantly bipolar (democratic-republican), with a pinch of liberalism and a religion whose fractured mirror seeks to reflect a multifaceted image of its social fabric.

Reading America as a project is like putting together disparate frames of astounding collaboration of insipid population that culminates in superimposed frames that make the image of a modern catastrophe, resulting from the collapse of a manufactured reality. It is an elegy for the nonstop gaiety of a full-fledged transformation; an intricate festschrift in a launching ceremony of gradual disintegration; the desperate farewell of a restless traveler, longing for that hyper-real utopia.

Ehsan Rasoulof

November 2013