Freedom: 21st Century Edition

Michael Stipe (yes, that Michael Stipe) reflects on the 9/11 inspired work of conceptual artist Douglas Coupland, life as a wanderer & the nebulous idea of home, and the 21st century in general. His words echo the thoughts of many on the strange and beleaguered place we find ourselves 13 years on from one of the worst tragedies in our history. He laments that the greatest evil we face may just be the one inside ourselves: the inability to question, reflect, or change due to the speed at which we’re moving. Stipe poses the question,

“Is that who we are now? Blind, unquestioning, warlike? Are we that violent, that childish, that silly, that shallow? Are we that afraid of others? Of ourselves? Of the possibility of genuine change?”

Every single thing that’s happened since that terrible day can lead a rational person to only one conclusion, that yes, until further notice, we are all those things.


As for Coupland’s work, it is profoundly chilling in that it juxtaposes those grim events from 9/11, which are forever burned into our collective consciousness, with the post-modern world we’ve created in the interim. You see, the images just look like a bunch of dots until, you guessed it, you take a picture of them on your phone…it’s your choice. But if you choose to interact, the iStylizing-Droidifcation-Pixelization-Processorchip brings it right into focus for you; it’s the jumpers from the Twin Towers hurling themselves to their deaths onto the concrete of lower Manhattan. So repost, like, fave, and tag your friends. The 21st Century: It’s a lifestyle.


Image: “The Poet”. Photograph: ©Douglas Coupland