Digital Object Theory
When all art becomes digital and physically takes form as data
“Digital object theory” states that all the arts, whether that may be music, photography, writing, performance, film, sculpture, animation, or anything visual, will solely exist in the digital realm and as one universal file type. All the arts will become digital, and art in the 21st century should be understood as digital objects, and not existing in the physical realm. All artists are striving to produce data for one egalitarian computer. There are no unique characteristics to art anymore once it all becomes data, or, “digital objects.”
Is this a good thing, or a bad thing?
John Berger’s 1972 BBC documentary, Ways of Seeing, is an anti-realist statement that art is not real because we do not see its original form in front of us, and only through a reproduction, or clone, that depends on our vision. The realist argues that the painting itself exists, whether or not we are thinking about it, and the reproduction or clone proves it and continues to exist beyond our understanding. However, the anti-realist sees the reproduction or clone as a symbol of the real thing, not the real thing itself. Idealism requires us to conceptualize those real things, but continue to exist as long as we think about it. Anti-realist philosopher George Berkeley argues that something is only real so as long as we constantly conceive of it in the same room as us. “God looks at us, we exist. And we become god when we look at the chair, because the chair now exists.” For the anti-realist, materialism can only exist so as long as we can see it in person.
Berger’s anti-realism seems to be incredibly stubborn in that art can only exist as a single object, and not as many. It is assumed that the symbols that are copied from the original are supposedly inauthentic, and with this in mind, we are now supposed to assume a materialistic worldview of class struggle between master and slave. He can only comprehend “design” as the scientific explanation of the art, and the purpose of its function to what it was made for, as a single existing object.
Berger unfortunately has created an obvious Marxist, Jewish-influenced rebuttal against the sincere forms of racial nationalism expressed in Kenneth Clark's Civilisation TV series. There is nothing wrong with Marxism, it is rather Berger’s Jewish subversion of disenchanting the power of the art piece as being nothing but egalitarian consumption. Yes, Clark also espouses the problematic Eurocentric and naive notion that Anglo-Saxon people (or Europeans in general) created art movements to express their virtue ethics and “gentle giant” paternalism that wishes to advocate transhumanism for the rest of the world. This pitiful arrogance found in white people seems to also feed into their liberal managerialism and the current regime of “anti-racist” globalism. The eventual creation and promotion of Harold Bloom was a Jewish-friendly attempt to reconcile Clark’s eurocentric nationalism and to create a new egalitarian, “meritocracy only” worship of “The Western Canon” that becomes the glory of liberalism itself, so that any nonwhite person can also participate in the global elite project too. This is bad for everyone involved.
Jewish interest has largely, in part, attacked Christian ideas of transcendence, and Jews like Berger and Bloom wish to pursue a similar liberal managerial state where Jews remain in positions of power all while non-Jews are forced to get along until “the messiah” comes. Ironically, the Western canon and dialectic materialism would naturally oppose this Jewish supremacy (just like “white supremacy”), and this “Tikkun Olam” can only result in global failure. This is why both Berger and Bloom have to subvert Eurocentric interest in Marxism and the Western canon. The purpose is to stop anti-liberal resistance. Marxism and nationalism are not dialectically opposed to each other, nor have they ever been. The current 2023 protests against Israel and the advocation for Palestine is a mass public awakening on Jewish power and why it matters.
However, this is not to say that European people are innocent in their arrogant love for “civilization” too. Without Jewish subversion, European people will continue an even worse state of global race-blind transhumanism where everyone is an “individual” and egalitarianism is advocated in the context that everyone is “white” like them. It is from this gentle giant innate behavior that Europeans let others walk all over them, in that they think a sacrifice for liberalism is a greater cause for “humanity” than their own existence.
I find European nationalists and Western canon worshippers like Kenneth Clark and Harold Bloom both incredibly distasteful, as non-Jew or Jew. Their subjective perversion that Western history is the best is a delusional form of white nationalism, where history supposedly connects the deracinated individuals to some grand Hegelian narrative, and that mythology is created to make the middle-class bumpkin feel he or she is God. This is where I sympathize with Berger, but at the same time, hate the cliche notion of Jewish-projected liberalism found in Harold Bloom. Whatever form it takes, liberalism is decadent both for non-Jews and Jews.
Besides Jewish influences, how does digital object theory infulence film?
Dziga Vertov and Mikhail Kaufman’s 1929 film, “Man with a Movie Camera,” was a technological innovation, in that the medium of film was more important than what a camera could do. It wasn’t about telling a story or creating a “picture play.” The director was aware that the camera could go beyond time and space, and the medium of film made this possible.
“I am an eye, a mechanical eye. I, the machine show you a world the way only I can see it. I free myself from today and forever from human immobility. I am in constant movement. I approach and pull away from objects. I creep under them. I move alongside a running horse’s mouth. I fall and rise, with the falling and rising bodies. This is I, the machine, maneuvering in the chaotic movements, recording one movement after another, in the most complex combinations. Freed from the boundaries of time and space, I coordinate any and all points of the universe wherever I want them to be. My way leads toward the creation of a fresh perception of the world. Thus I explain in a new way, the world unknown to you.”
The video is free from any linear order. It is created by a machine, and what type of machine is used in the process, influencing the film from its filter and resolution. A theater play cannot capture the vision of the horse, and the camera creates a new space of “performance.” The film can exist beyond when it was recorded, and it is often hard to tell when a piece of film was exactly recorded. The film creates a new perception; a new, immediate language of consumption, for everyone to understand the complex in a digestible format. The camera can do many things, and the film turns itself into that digital object we create and cherish.
So why does this apply to John Berger?
Berger cites Walter Benjamin, another fellow Jew who wrote the 1935 essay, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” about how art is “devalued” once it is reproduced. There will be an overabundance of everything, and the negation of one art is the negation of all. Again, the bias that Benjamin puts forward is that there is an authentic original, some kind of valued “content,” and like the Jewish cockiness found in Harold Bloom, there is supposedly a “meritocracy” of how art should be understood and experienced in this assumed technological reality. Benjamin is a footnote for the corrupted institutions of art museums and curators who believe their art is the best because they have it. Benjamin’s concept of the “aestheticization of politics” seems to get beauty wrong, and the entire argument reeks of a disdain for the public, and that the public is somehow innately evil.
There is evidence that Benjamin was aware of Leon Trotsky,1 and had connections with The Frankfort School.2 Both died in 1940; Trotsky was assassinated, and Benjamin committed suicide. Martin Heidegger, the famous philosopher whom Benjamin called his “nemesis,”3 died of old age at 86, made a lasting impact on world history over Benjamin, and still was able to criticize Jewish power. Benjamin lost the war, as his spite was motivated by liberalism.
Berger seems to prop up Benjamin as a convenient axiom to his anti-religious argument. Liberalism assumes individuals are all unique intellects with different yet inclusive attitudes that anyone can think for themselves against the plebians who are not enlightened. The logic is extremely hypocritical, and this type of condescending power knowledge behavior is common among English majors in low-tier American undergraduate schools. This behavior is linked to Trotsky, whose theory of “permanent revolution” despises the common people and those who are enlightened are saviors of intellectualism. Trotsky is also Jewish, so it is no surprise that elitism and gatekeeping are characteristics of Berger, Benjamin, and Bloom. I would further argue and say that behavior is also the crux of liberalism, and liberalism is a white-accepted characteristic of the elitist Jewish behavior of these men. Jewish elite citing one another is like someone fabricating evidence to assume the only truth is liberalism and nothing can be rebutted about it.
Berger and Benjamin’s dystopia seems to be based on a nihilistic, Trotskyist understanding of the world. Materialism is not enough, as everything is subjective and without form. This belief would only justify the rule of the internet over us, that now, the internet has to be second to our reality. It’s not about abolishing capitalism and replacing it with socialism, but rather, replacing the current system with a compatible capitalism, a capitalism that can provide universal basic income to everyone, and create a false post-scarcity condition by the managerial elite. Our lives are determined by virtual reality and cartoon avatars that aren’t real, and Berger argued that we might as well embrace this anti-realist condition as the truth.
A new “value” for Berger and Benjamin is created in a world of “content creation.” Now we are living in their dystopia, dressed as a Marxist utopia! But is it really?
Marshall McLuhan also talked of a similar and sinister “global village” we would supposedly be liberated under, and that what only matters is the “content” of the things we consume. How is any of this Marxist? This is liberalism having its way in an accelerating world that hates itself. McLuhan could be considered a bigger dunce for advocating an egalitarian and meaningless world similar to the assumed utopias of Richard von Coudenhove-Kalergi and Israel Zangwill. Are we supposed to be celebrating what the internet and computer technology have done to art as a whole? Are we liberated from this?
I’m not saying we should be reactionaries and desire some dysfunctional steampunk, victorian world Berger and Benjamin want or give into the Eurocentric and liberal retardation of McLuhan and Bloom. Berger is celebrating the idiotic nature of comic “meme” communication and the endless dysfunctional subculture of Something Awful or 4chan. Meanwhile, the Benjamin rebuttal is reactionary and advocates a dumb, whites-only Lake Tahoe escapism as the world burns. Berger seems to apply dialectic materialism to art production and forgets that beauty and greater meaning exist within art. He negates the purpose of art with an entirely different thought process of technology and gives power to the lazy or the handicapped who can’t speak. None of this helps art in any way. It’s all a regurgitation of Umberto Eco and his liberal insistence that “semiotics” is superior to everything. Liberals are skeptical of everything, without ever agreeing on one sincere cause. Irony is what motivates the state.
I could go on about Berger’s bias of “the male gaze,” devaluing “the female gaze” in return. Women are beautiful, and there is a biological right to find beauty in pornography and nudity. But for Berger, it’s always the same biological difference between men and women, that there is always something evil between them. I don’t know who is worse; John Berger, or his other pretentious evil twin, Adam Curtis. Both Berger and Curtis are in the business of sounding eclectic and pompous as possible, just to veneer how insidious liberalism is.
The last century saw the digitization of everything. Everything is constructed by the computer or will be. We are programmers, not artists. We are always working with computers, and we cannot be artists without them. Digital objects may be .pdf, .gif, .jpeg, .mp4, .s3m, or whatever that can be downloaded and analyzed as a dot file. Writers think they are writing “the next Great American novel,” when all of it will be digitized for the internet as a .pdf file. Cartoonists think they will draw a cool comic, but end up uploading their drawings as digital files on Instagram. All musicians will succumb to a universal .mp3 file for their music to be streamed on YouTube or wherever. YTMND is a hub that hosts digitalized pictures with music attached to them. Can we say we are artists when we work with computers in the end? That’s the significance of digital object theory, that all art becomes “digital objects,” and how we can rearrange the digital objects to create new ones.
Call it “picture poetry” or “the first novel to be written with animated gifs!” We must acknowledge that we all become victims to the computer and the internet that forces us to work with it. It creates the anxiety that we must look for an “audience,” or that it’s all on us to “distribute” our art to strangers in a sea of useless digital objects. Everything has became inflated. There is too much data. Therefore, we can only produce data and accelerate until we take up a large amounts of space that becomes ours. These areas of the internet belong to us, like BitCoin which we “mined” for.
Is it wrong? No. But we have to understand the current zeitgeist under this technological spell. I wouldn’t read or listen to Berger, Benjamin, Bloom, McLuhan, or Curtis, because all of them advocate liberalism in one way or another, under the disguise they are edgy “Marxists” or “radicals.” They are agents of the liberal system that hates us.
We can understand digital object theory and use it for our good. We will not fall victim to the nihilism or the mundane irony of the intellects who promote it that way. We understand the reality of the world, the innate differences of people, and everything that attacks liberalism. We don’t need to live in virtual reality and pretend it’s not there.
Digital object theory is happening right now. It’s what you are reading. It’s not about a “culture war” or some materialistic notion that nothing is real. Art is meaningful even as a digital object. As data, it takes up space and threatens the entire virtual reality.
I hope we can produce enough “dark data” that can destroy liberalism.
The Correspondence of Walter Benjamin, 1910-1940. Edited and Annotated by Gershom Scholem and Theodor W. Adorno. Translated by Manfred R. Jacobson and Evelyn M. Jacobson. With a Foreword by Gershom Scholem. pg. 82. 1994. The University of Chicago Press.