In 1973 Chris Burden conceives the work Through the Night Softly, to be inserted during 10 seconds amongst the regular Tv advertisements, "4 times a week for 4 weeks".
In the original video, longer than the tv ad, he held his hands behind his back and crawled through about 50 feet of glass in Los Angeles pavement at nigh time.
We got to live during the time of corporations. We're told we should feel blessed. No other time has been like this one. Just think: a century ago, the first cars were coming off the assembly line. The planet still had the feel of an untamed frontier, at least for those lucky enough to be born rich, white, male, and willing to take on that post-Enlightenment ideal of Manifest Destiny. Just a century later, we see what the myth of privileged vantage points has delivered: a white hot moment of high petrol fuel, a moment in geological time like nothing more than a hit of crack rock. The addict knows only ash will remain, that it was their rent money- that they can't keep going like this. Yet they do, like a cockroach dragging its broken body across the floor, its abdomen an empty husk, most of its legs floundering as if in severe palsy. We all knew. So this should be neither confession nor surprise. We burned through the fuel like addicts. Like addicts, we used each day to leverage the future, and soon started hocking the future as well. Next months paycheck. Next years. Our children. Our children's children. We used one another, as we always have, like users and pushers. The analogy is so sound that it's facile. Governments wage false wars on drugs because the psychology of user and abuser is one they're familiar with. Like I said, none of this should be any surprise. And yet the shock in our voice was genuine, when all our accounts ran dry, when our friends were no longer assets we could drain. Then comes denial, bargaining. Then comes the mad power scramble. A few things are different on a global scale. But for the most part, if we want to know the future, just imagine a man dragging himself across broken glass in the brief, eternal silence between commercial breaks, and you've got a pretty good idea.
Enjoy your latte.