/ “GETTING BETTER” AND OTHER LIES
/ commissioned study
In 1903, George Simmel wrote a radical text titled “The Metropolis and Mental Life” describing aspects of contemporary life in a metropolitan context. One of the main concepts developed in the essay is that “there is perhaps no psychic phenomenon which is so unconditionally reserved to the city as the blasé outlook.” In French the world blasé means “unimpressed.” It describes someone indifferent to something because they have experienced it before. Simmels claims that city dwellers rely on this strain of apathy to protect themselves from the continuous stimuli produced by the urban environment.
Our research aims to underline that nowadays people are bombarded more than ever by an endless flood of images, information, alerts, notifications, and breaking news, which extends our access not just to our cities but also the world. Nevertheless, we feel less and less connected and more and more apathetic. We are more emotionally involved consuming light entertainment than witnessing global ecological collapse.
In our publication we decided to stress this common—but still striking—paradox by ironically pairing images of environmental destruction with the mania of Beatles fans.