RANTS FOR SOCIAL MEDIA - The 5the book b



A Rant on "Rants" 

by Angelo Moscarello, March 2021

In Christian Ortega's newest collection, you will find the mask of social media lifted, revealing a mysterious play of time and space underneath, where life and art become interchangeable in a performance that turns itself inside out. A kaleidoscopic merry-go-round. In Rants For Social Media, Ortega encompasses many angles and dimensions. This decade-long collection of social media posts made from the sights and sounds of autobiography, poetry, music, and performance, offers ways to live creatively and consciously in a predaceous technocracy. Through the book’s unobtrusive design, Ortega challenges you to look closer and discover the real person behind its pages. The early posts portray the author in a contemplative state, imbibing on cultural phenomena, then they gradually burgeon into full-throated rants that capture the life of a poet industriously engaged with the world. All the while, you see yourself in his journey: creative, frustrated, smart, angry, scared, and motivated.

In order to live a conscious and creative life all psychic barriers must be torn down. Ortega puts it simply, “Why don’t we do it in the road?” paying homage to The Beatles’ song in BEWARE OF THE POET: Ortega vs The Beatles @ YouTube {Nov 13, 2018, 1:16 PM}. Through dance he metaphorically strips away false social identity. It is a death of the ego. A search for the “creative other.” This is necessary to reach that self-effaced innerverse, a place between reality and dream state, where the pre-cosmos act of creation can be sustained. But this sojourn is conditional: create through personal truth or become lost in the ego hells of blind mediocrity and frigid inspiration.

 

In this social media culture, little effort is made to reach through an interface and touch the flesh and blood person on the other side: The Ghosting Era: Let’s share everything about us today so I can forget you ever existed tomorrow {Jun 19, 2020, 9:44 AM}. Electronic data communication promises anonymity and a risk-free relationship with others. Social media thrives in a platform of self-alienation, exploiting and perpetuating xenophobia, while you risk an atomized cloistered home life, with the outside world defined by your own “echo chamber" INDIFFERENCE ANYWHERE IS COMPLICITY EVERYWHERE {Feb 24, 2019, 12:15 PM}. Interpersonal skills are soon displaced by a technological acumen. In social media you exist only as an IP number, and possibly not at all: I can’t stand how the internet is now historical record when it’s missing years of data I personally lived through {Feb 16, 2020, 9:15 AM}.

The timestamp beneath each of Rants’ posts beguiles you into believing you are situated in that moment. But that fraction of time has long passed (if it ever existed). Social media manufactures false reality. The person on the other side of the interface is neither present in the time nor the space assumed. The transmission of data appears immediate, but is actually delayed by fractions of seconds in reaching the other party. Whether text, voice, or video, you’re seeing no better than a facsimile of the other person. You may think you’re messaging your favorite politician or celebrity, but odds are the person responding is a paid staff member. This especially comes to light when someone gets “cancelled” for embarrassing or controversial statements, blaming a subordinate, thus injecting uncertainty into the technological paradise. 

Ortega’s blocks of text contain references to many things, as all social media posts do; when reading any one of Rants’ posts, its references lead you to other references, and those to others, ad infinitum. Everything exists as a reference to something else. You only have to follow one of Ortega’s posts to enter a universe of critiques, lamentations, bursts of anger, or psychosexual fulminations. The illusion is that what is seen or read is the totality of its being. This can be extended to a living person. A human being is made from more material than what appears on the surface. Message, messenger, and the messaged hold a universe of meaning. We are made of stars {Apr 20, 2019, 11:28 PM}. 

Beacons of fame and fortune light the sky of every artist, simultaneously heralding the destruction of body and soul. The famous are all too often lost in cults of personality, inspiration replaced by financial considerations, thus killing their artistic soul. The death of the physical body follows. Ortega is moved by these tragedies, and so honors the passing of such icons: Jean-Michel Basquiat {Jul 15, 2012, 12:06 AM}, Rene Ricard {Feb 2, 2014, 12:34 PM}, David Bowie {Jan 11, 2016, 12:24 PM}, Nico {Aug 8, 2018, 6:22 PM}. Some artists re-appropriate death: BEWARE OF THE POET: Ortega vs Virginia Woolf @ YouTube {Mar 5, 2018, 8:55 PM}. But death is always there behind the artfully penned word, the perfect brush of paint, and the virtuosic note. A finished work of art is the final act of creation. Itself a kind of death. Then the work lives on in the spectator’s mind. The artist starts anew. Ortega cautiously reaches out to death, to know it, knowing he can be drawn into the abyss. The act of creation nullifies death. 

Ortega invokes Eros, the god of love, vivifying the pages of Rants with the warm breath of mortal yearnings. IT'S JUST A PENIS: It was made to give and receive pleasure. It’s not your enemy {Jul 26, 2020, 10:51 AM}. You experience these libidinal exhortations more viscerally than the other social matter. They awaken connections between the sex drive and the creative drive. The Nine Muses imbue inspirations while Eros lights the creative fires. You sow the seeds of your art, freeing creative expression from its psychical prison, giving it physical presence. Rants is just that, art plus desire seeking change.

The true fashion of politics is nakedness. Party masks, Left, Right, Red or Blue, hide the collective face of a people and their common struggles for the necessities of life. Politics often becomes cultish allegiance to a political savior, who wears a mask of comedy or tragedy, but hides a stone-faced expression of apathy underneath. Ortega rejects these false identities of politics: FUCK POLITICS: I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. #independent {Jun 10, 2019, 1:02 AM}. Thus opening a door to knowing yourself and others more truthfully. I love all my friends, just the way they are... {Jun 18, 2018, 11:05 AM}. Ortega advocates for spiritual mindfulness during the Covid-19 crisis: What I’ve learned from lockdown is gratitude for what’s real and what’s within my hands. Take stock of what is yours. Make the most of the turbulent coming months...And do not forget to help those who are deserving of help {Apr 23, 2020, 5:25 PM}. All politics is self. Breaking down the artifice of self-identity is the final act of freedom.

  

Ortega seeks to free the captive mind from its technocratic cage. He offers Rants For Social Media as a simple template, a mindful DIY project. The need for expression will never be greater than in this time of Covid-19 lockdowns and social upheaval. The "source code" of Rants was inspired by The Andy Warhol Diaries, edited by Pat Hackett, and also by Joe Brainard’s I Remember and I Remember More. Just like Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup cans turned a common object into a marvelous wonder; Ortega’s brutally honest posts have turned online communication into personal epiphany. Writers can employ elaborate descriptive words but it's the Poet who writes for truth. Rants For Social Media is an autobiographical prose poem with no beginning or end. Life exists well beyond the last entry and before its first, both present and absent, full of ephemeral moments, ten years of a life tangibly represented in book form. Inherent in these moments is Ortega's voice calling attention to the immediate present, to the words right in front of your face. Ortega suggests that the goal is not ever really reached; it is the process that is most important.

 

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