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.

Similarly, building on the previous, the threat of a third world war with nuclear weapons and the significant increase in the prices of essential necessities such as food, gas and electricity due to the geopolitical war in Ukraine after the deployment of Russian troops in February 2022, as well as the violent outbreak of a new armed conflict between Israel and Palestine following the surprise terrorist attack in October 2023, significantly contributed to reinforcing the belief in the blackout theory among the most suspicious population, predominantly with limited academic education, a certain tendency to adopt self-destructive habits and a conservative ideology with nationalist propensities, whose doctrine and objective quickly focused on fostering a climate of hostility and rejection towards the complex issue of migration, in tune with the rise of the new right in the Western world, and ultimately evoking, implicitly, a symbolic and reflexive meaning about the supposed arrival of the blackout as a conceptual metaphor for a personal state of inner shadow, adherence to negativity or internal eclipse of consciousness.

© Antonio Bautista 2023, all rights reserved.Impressum.
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