“Bruce Falkian is a world famous contemporary artist who exhibits at the world’s most prestigious art galleries and fairs. Bruce Falkian moonlights as an agent of espionage against the Terrorism Industrial Complex. Wait… what?
To understand Bruce Falkian we first must understand the link between image and war. In the late 1800s the precursor to the video camera was invented. It was directly inspired by guns, specifically, Samuel Colt’s Revolver. It borrowed not only its barrel mechanics, swapping bullets for exposures, but its terminology too. Load, point, scope, aim, shoot, flash. The camera and the gun, united by cordite, would go on to prove the most efficacious tools in shaping the modern world.
The 20th century was a laboratory when it comes to killing and image making, glorified through Hollywood and the Western genre. Propaganda would prove highly effective in creating and sustaining support for militaries fighting for ideological global control. Devised first in the aptly title ‘Propaganda’ (1928) by Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, Advertising and Public Relations became the leading media industries, learning how to control the population through images, usually just to buy random crap they didn’t need, but other times to overthrow democratically elected politicians in foreign countries. Eventually Western Liberal Democracy assumed domination, built of course on the enslavement of all peoples and nations who didn’t fall in line with its specific ideas of living. The Red Scare inspired countless anti-leftist, anti-communist works of art throughout the Cold War, notably and most bizarre, funding the abstract expressionist movement as a non-ideological alternative to socialist realism art. When the Soviet Union fell, Western Liberal Democracy was able to promulgate its unhindered views around the world through its various media empires and actor states. Is it a coincidence that a third of the almost $85 billion dollar global camera equipment market is represented by the greatest propaganda beast the world has ever seen, the USA?
Guns are dangerous because of the obvious. Images are dangerous because we are bad at perceiving what is real (as any jump scare, deepfake, newsreel will attest to.) Videos aren’t technically real, they are only a collection of rapidly changing static images which give the illusion of movement. It’s easy for us to collectively decide that a video is real, because that’s the way our brains perceive reality. People who lead the world of media understand this, which is how they are able to control us, make us invade foreign countries, vote for specific politicians, feel ugly or fat etc. However, ubiquitous as they are, it seems that the image is in crisis. It seems that we’ve run out of them. Or perhaps our understanding of an image is changing, with the aid of near instantaneous text-to-image AI technology. So what does this mean for guns? What does this mean for war? How will images be used as an aid to war in the 21st century? It remains to be seen, but Bruce Falkian will be a useful agent.”