Opiate of the Masses
Opiate of the Masses,
Neon Sign with Dimmer Switch, 12 feet x 5 inches, 2019
Opiate of the Masses is a neon sign that references the Karl Marx phrase, religion is the opiate of the masses. The actual quote states, “Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” I chose to update the quote by changing “Religion” to “Social Media” while rendering the text as a neon sign in a similar font and color to Facebook.
How does Social Media play out in a culture that is yearning for more attention, more opportunity, and more exposure. Why do we sell ourselves as a product online, while our online personalities become our brand? Why do we act out these fictious selves that are posted online? With anxiety and depression on the increase from looking at the fictious lives of others on Social Media, how do we reconcile fact from fiction? How do we stop the numbing effect that comes with feeling not worthy online? An additional layer of meaning lies in the relationship of the virtual to the real. The virtual world of social media to the real world opioid epidemic that is prevalent in culture right now.