What did you think of the movie?
When I first saw the Guy Fawkes mask and crazy spinning knives on the ads, I refused to go see it. It looked completely comical. One day I rented the movie and fell in love. It captures how a democracy can easily fall into dictatorship, rebellion in such a state and losing your fear.
So did you change your opinion of the Guy Fawkes mask?
Totally. In the movie, it comes to symbolize freedom from repression and how to overcome a dictatorship. In fact, it became the symbol of Anonymous in their battle against extreme government and other groups controlling and corrupting society.
Have you done any painting related to the movie?
Earlier I painted about the PS3 attack by Anonymous for over 23 days. This painting encaptures symbols of the movie, quotes of Anonymous as well as the cover story of lost credit cards that Sony claimed was the reason for the attack. The original reason was that Sony shut down the functionality of the original OS in PS3 and a hacker reopened it back up to the original stock OS. Sony didn’t want to be bothered managing the original open OS system that programmers enjoyed. So they sued the hacker and all downloaders. After this heinous act, the PS3 network was taken down by Anonymous for exactly 23 days, which was the same number, 23, as a german cult hacker movie. Needless to say Hollywood remade the movie into a paranoia movie with Jim Carrey, almost makes you think they hacked the movie to cover the original plot line of the movie 23. In all likelihood, they just butchered the remake out of stupidity rather than a diabolic intention by Hollywood.
How relevant is the movie today?
Well, after the NSA revelation with Edward Snow, we are starting to see how deep the rabbit hole goes. Ironically, I just finished a painting on the Chinese government snooping on US companies and the warm virtual war we are already in with US vs. China in cyberspace. Now with the public growing aware of how deep the government is watching its own citizens without warrant, a complete oversight of the 4th Amendment in the US constitution, we see how relevant this movie is. If the government decides you are a “terrorist” based on a word count of your website, who knows what they will do. Is this not the apex of the slope sliding down to what the Stasi did in the DDR in Germany?
Riding the Dragon on the Plains of Slaves
You really think the NSA is becoming the Stasi?
Not yet, but the truly scary thing is the German Prime Minister Merkel is bringing up the issue with Obama in the current visit. This just shows how extreme the US government is really acting towards its own citizens and cavalier attitude towards the US constitution. Likely, the only cure is likely to ban the NSA outright as they will not stop spying on the US citizens. If you look at the similar scandal of the IRS under Obama, you can see how the government is now trying to throw elections and sliding to some type of autocratic system of rule that is not backed up by true public voting of its elected representatives.
Are there other popular media of a similar story?
A classic is 1984. It covers a totalitarian state where every word you write is overlooked by the government. Each possible suspect is then detained and re-educated in camps. The main character falls in love, but is then captured. After being re-educated in a camp, he doesn’t even recognize his love of his life afterwards.
The funny irony is that Apple used 1984 type ad in its infamous Superbowl commercial to sell the Macintosh. Now they are one of the US companies suspected of turning over private citizen data to the NSA.
We currently have prisoners at Guantanamo being held without trial. Now we believe that the government is holding them as some type of POWs, yet brings no charges on these war criminals. If they truly have fought against the US citizens, then likely these charges would stand in court. Why not bring this chapter to a close? Obama promised to close Guantanamo in his first 60 days yet kept it open another four years. Are we really living in a democracy with full rights to a fair trial anymore? What prevents the government from throwing more neutral opponents to the system in this off-shore prison? Nobody knows, you just have to trust Obama.
The truly sad thing is that the US government has regularly rounded up various minorities in times of war. Below are the signs of the Japanese intern camps of WWII only 70 years ago. They lost all their property in fire sales or illegal squatting by other US citizens.
Previous to that the US fought various native Americans and eventually put them into camps called reservations where they had no historical connection and usually on worthless farming land. One of the results of this policy, was the Battle of Little Big Horn by Custer. Today these are some of the poorest communities in the US equivalent to third world conditions.
So have you done any recent painting on the subject?
Stay tuned. I just finished an abstract on the subject.