Muralist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada recenlty worked on a new mural entitled “Byte the Candy” for Urvanity 2021 in Madrid, Spain. In this mural, the artist speaks out about our relationship with social media. It’s the first piece created by Gerada which brings his terrestrial land art style to the wall, creating a perfect union of the two aesthetics.
In 1984, Neil Postman gave a talk about how we are “Amusing Ourselves to Death”. He criticised how the news we see on television is entertainment, there only to maintain our attention in order to sell advertisement time instead of trying to make us think.
Today, we are living something beyond what Neil Postman was warning us about, social media platforms, with a system of algorithms that have no conscience or mercy. These algorithms work incessantly to keep our constant attention to see advertising and propaganda, and in that way become more efficient with the use of personal data, achieving the ability to target advertising that coincides exactly with the profile of interests of each user.
Orwell, Huxley and Postman are rolling in their graves, raising their voices from the past when all of this was just a macabre idea, while the artists of the 21st century are complicit, do not denounce or give alternatives.
In this portrait I incorporate the “on” button symbol that is ubiquitous in our technological reality, on the portrait of young beauty, to create a visual dialogue and invite contemplation about the possible narratives that the piece may have and how the spectators might see themselves reflected within it.
Rodriguez-Gerada’s portraits, performed as murals or as terrestrial interventions that can be seen from space, more than the artist’s mark, reflect other people’s imprints. They are part of a memory that refuses to solely be a passing signal.
Although it has always been based in cities, urban art hasn’t always belonged to the citizens. Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada has changed this and has given it a new condition. He has achieved this because his work is not made solely for “urbanites.” Above all, it is truly aimed at the citizenship that is forced to live, and above all, forced to transform the beast that is the City in the 21st century.
Photo credits: all pics by Fer Alcalá