Paranoia as a System: Look Box

I was initially drawn to the Paranoia as a System course because of Angela’s introduction video. It was a collage of anti-ideological paranoid thinkers from various places in the political spectrum, all of whom have found a voice on the internet. As a fairly online person who has taken several dives into the deconstructive depths of the web, which seem to impact our offline reality more and more, I felt called to the class, ableit somewhat uncannily. I found it was important to pick at why these sorts of thinkers, for example Slavoj Zizek and Russell Brand, both included in Angela’s video, were so effective for me. Why have I read multiple books upon their (parasocial) recommendation? I couldn’t help but associate this personal situation with Angela’s prompt for our first project: A Spell to Ward Off Darkness. My assemblage for the project started with the assemblages I had already made, my folders of folders of pdfs gathered from the internet for my personal growth. I then recalled other lists of recommendation I had obtained on the internet which I had used to broaden my horizons.

The assemblage went quickly from here. I began to view these various lists as a path towards a particular and precarious intellectual safety. Thus, I wanted find other paths which I follow for my health that persist without release from defensiveness. I gathered various pellets which I use for physical comfort (wild berries, candy corn, anti-depressants) and placed them on a ski-lift/conveyor-belt/catheter leading towards an intestinal pocket. I used two drawings, one from my sketchbook and the other from the cover of “This Way to the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen” for my third path to evoke my emotional/artistic journey. The space of these journeys began to feel enclosed, so I constructed it into a box with a small door for observing. The red wire of all three paths culminated in three pouch-like protrusions on the three dimensions of the box.

I noted how harshly my project indicted my various spells to ward off darkness, so I wanted to express my personal belief in a radical beyond, one which is not transcendental but out-of-joint and out-of-box. I built upon a favorite poem of mine by Emily Dickinson which I felt evoked the paradimensionality of this beyond and paired nicely with the gnarled dimensionality of my object. This mini poster, placed below my construction, was not intended to condemn the box as much as recontextualize its trapped sequences.

Author: Simon Diesenhaus