(Originally published August, 2010)
Insulting, demeaning, degrading, humiliating – expressed, felt, interpreted, and reacted to in kind – radiated to and from all corners of the planet, all cultures, all societies, all eras. Insulting, and insulted, respecting no boundaries; the actions are offensive, defensive, blind, and universal.
Las Vegas – the “ground zero” of surrealist cultural absurdity – now brings you: THE MUSEUM OF INSULT, insulting everyone in as many ways as possible (continually updated).
Given the new freedoms of the new media/technology-infested age, it appears at times that everyone hates everyone – nothing’s held back. If you are not criticized for a belief, you are killed, either by individuals acting on their own behalf, or by rouge groups in disguise, or governments out in the open. Human societal behavior has always been a free-for-all, it’s just so much easier to see and to participate in now.
Today all digital words and all digitized beliefs are all up for reinterpretation, allowing among other things – insults, remotely issued and monitored. The challenge now may be – do we move away from, or embrace (absolutely) all forms of expression?
Free speech, question #1: (an oldie but goodie) would you support an individual’s right to free speech, even if there were enough of these individuals desiring to abolish free speech (e.g. by changing the constitution)?
Free speech, question #2: Could there exist a written statement so repugnant, disgusting, and personally horrible that you believe it has gone too far and that it should be forbidden?
For me, these questions are rhetorical. They are meditations and metaphors representing the complexity of perspective. The digital age has shattered the idea of privacy, the notion of congeniality, and, ironically, a right to a universally held point of view. What’s down is up and what’s up is down – no controls, no rules.
What Gutenberg did for the aristocracy, Diderot’s books did for the enlightened paying public, the networked computer has done for absolutely everyone. It is not only impossible to vote down free speech – that which might have been called repugnant, disgusting, and personally horrible – can be commonplace.
So why not a museum/gallery/performance space, that acknowledges the apparent – bring out into the light that which everyone can already see?
Taking the drama out of insults, what will you find?
A few wax figures greeting you at the front door? Bringing to life the absurdity of modern-day media, and the rhetoric of local, national, and world politics.
The Museum of Insult: Is it possible to satirize that which is so completely absurd?