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“Them” by Kay Dick: Back from Oblivion to Dystopia

light they From Kay Dick in 2022 some fifty years after its publication (And at least forty ofWillful forgetfulness that affected the work) is to ask oneself again about the function of art in the contemporary world, perhaps expecting an answer that is anything but flattering: the apparent “loss of meaning” in art can be real. Scheduled.

The last work of this author (1915-2001), a bookseller, journalist and literary critic, The first female director of a publishing house in the United Kingdomsummarizing within it all the typical features of the genre visual acuity: loss of freedom, oppression of a minority, inaccessibility to the truth, loneliness as a tool of oppression.

However, this book, which, after the rediscovery of Faber and Faber, reached Italy thanks to its publication Minimum number of faxes (translation by Assunta Martinese), presents some Privacy absoluteElements that in the typical definition of genre appear as sources of disturbance.

First, the subject of their persecution that theya group of anonymous and virtually ineffective PunishersI am alone Artworks. Whether it be paintings, sheet music, stories, sculptures, or even letters to a dear friend, nothing escapes their shattering calm:

Claire came to see me this afternoon. He brought a basket full of wild berries he had picked in the street. We ate blackberries and read poetry to each other. Each of them contained a part of our separate lives.
I said, “I don’t lock the door anymore.” Yesterday they took another book. “Yeah, they’re getting more active,” Claire said.
I said, “They have a slower approach in this part of the country.”

The force giving commands to these teams of destroyers is not specified. We know that no one dares to rebel, perhaps precisely because they have no name, leader, or identity. And slowly, in this disorganized succession of stories – along the lines of dream-like visions – their subject matter shifts from the producer to the matrix. When they’re done raiding the artworks, they switch to sentiment:

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Fiona was sitting facing the window. Luke put his hand on my arm to stop me from running towards her. My dog ​​barked and jumped forward trying to get to her. Fiona didn’t notice him. He turned to us. He gave no sign of recognizing us. Our presence had no effect on her. She was completely detached. No more weakness or inability to discriminate. As Luke said: He is healed.

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Here the type of dystopia is divided into arroganceAnd, as in the last scene of Brazil We notice the lost look of the now lobotomized Jonathan Pryce who dreams of being able to fly in blue skies in winged armor. like him my artists theywhen they prove themselves reverting to the creative impulse, they are taken away, forced into a meaningless sociopath.Then he comes to them memory erase Maybe an allergy.

And what better fictional means of heightening this horror than the loss of a soul? to set the story Beautiful and unspoiled landscapesdescribing everyday life in the most dreamy way possible. No Orwellian government buildings and Huxley’s enclosed continents here. On the contrary, there are the British cliffs, the English countryside, the old noble villas, the peace of the waves, and the quiet sound of the wind. in An inspiring environmentThe loss of genius reverberates in an even more frightening downfall.

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It is quite a noteworthy case that when it was published, they It first won the Southeast Arts Prize, but was then plagued by partisan and sexist articles, resulting in poor sales and relegated to oblivion. A form of censorship, which is exclusion from discussion, which is not The famous fire version of the The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood can stop.

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What seems to emerge is that when it comes to art, censorship is not intervening from above, nor is it moved by an intelligent and computing mind. It is almost always indirect He does not seem to express will.

The object of oppression is also the motive of the oppressor: only insensitivity wants it. This is the mind program who deliberately chose to stop thinking.

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Earl Warner

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