35mm & scans, black and white
Personal project
-- photographs

Some of the most important socio-political consequences that the global pandemic has caused in Austria were the proliferation of esoteric and conspiracy theories that presuppose imminent dangers to all humanity, as well as the constant public display of movements linked to the most radicalized right-wing in its multiple layers, who openly led and encouraged the direction of the views and protests promulgated by a diverse array of denialists and sceptics about the veracity of the epidemic and the congruent preventive measures taken to reduce it. Therefore, all of these circuits developed together from the organizing entities a populist discourse fundamentally based on inciting mistrust and fear among its followers against government, press and vaccination, besides reinforcing its oppositional stance and future candidatures in the political spectrum.

Thus, in line with this obscure and dubious dynamic of instrumentalization, in October 2021, the army started a corporate campaign by posting an official video on its website to warn of a likely power failure in Europe for a long time interval within the next five years, hinting at a possible conspiracy in the background as the cause of this event and suggesting a catastrophic scenario with apocalyptic overtones. Since then, the most sensationalist information channels in the country, such as free and cheap newspapers, have regularly published articles about this phenomenon known as blackout, giving them a secondary role in the edition of their news but often returning to the thematic through a recurrent determination. In fact, the constant insistence on mentioning the belief in this eventual disaster and introducing it gradually into the collective perception entailed more than just a warning to raise public awareness of the risks involved in our current dependence and overconsumption of electricity. This uncertain supposition slowly began to crystallize from the shadows of some mass media as the construct of a non-existent crisis during a period of huge social vulnerability due to the hardship induced by the pandemic, as well as to boost a niche market by rousing fear and a sense of need in certain sectors of Austrian society and also to justify the deposit of a large amount of money to the Federal Ministry of Defence.

Moreover, conjectures that initially corresponded to the fluctuation of paranoid ramblings soon became a feasible suspicion for many people. On February 24, 2022, the Russian army, commanded by the imperialist aspirations of its president, introduced its troops into Ukrainian territory and started a geopolitical war with devastating consequences for the integrity of Ukraine, whose development potentially caused a disturbing risk to the socio-economic stability of the European Community. Therefore, the threat of a third world war with nuclear weapons or the massive increase in the price of some basic resources such as food, gas or electricity raised political tensions and worry among the most suspicious population, reinforcing in that way the belief in the blackout theory and little by little increasing the presence of the gutter journalism through alarming and dramatic news about it, general context in which I captured the following body of images.

© Antonio Bautista 2023, all rights reserved.Impressum.
Do not use or copy my images without permission.