Redemption Through the Absurd: Ways of Rebelling by Means of the Doodle


Still from Black Mirror: Nosedive (episode 1, season 3, 2016)



This text that follows is the result of a real need, without being delirious.


For starters, we live and develop ourselves in the middle of the technological era, or should we call it the image era? We know that we are unpredictably surrounded by images of different nature: advertisement, television, cinema, new social media… Indeed, we are experiencing an era in which we are bounded to images regardless of the context or intention. This continuous imagery that dates from the beginning or mid 20th century has a name, iconosphere. This term, coined by Gilbert Cohen-Séat in 1959, refers to the set of elements, languages, visual and audio-visual pieces, that today have experimented a progress without precedents. Let us pretend that at least images make sense, that they do not subordinate us.


For some time now, we have experienced a technological encroachment on our personal lives, forcing us to integrate ourselves into a hyper-connected society of visualisation, in which most of the interpersonal relationships are now parasocial. Intimacy has gone from being a private concept to becoming a public space on the web, a digital record to which any user can have access. Walter Benjamin claimed that "humanity was a spectacle for the gods in Homer's time, now it has become a spectacle of itself" (Benjamin, 1936).


Within the social capitalism in which we are educated, the individual begins to be considered a product of entertainment. Therefore, the "anonymous masses" (Rancière, 2019), composed of individual subjects potentially homogenized, are provided with certain standards of conduct in order to redirect their behaviour towards the most profitable attitude for the society as a whole. We can notice this fact while we are consuming images from any new media comfortably from our sofa. There, we can identify ways of clothing, fashion trends, new ways of eating: Smoothies, ecological products.., and even new ways of being: Skinny, thin, fit, etc. In the end, we can recognize new ways of living and behaving that we are supposed to be adopting. This is where the question arises as to whether the vision of reality provided by the media (which can be actually harmful to the individuals), is dictated by the upper dome or whether, on the other hand, it is the community itself that produces it (Martín Prada, 2018).


And it is true that we must be aware that the hegemony of the virtual represents the impossibility of directly combating the injustice. It is precisely modern critique that is doomed to failure, submerged in the like and share’s dynamics that is little different from a blank space. New ways of reflection and awareness must be sought for a citizenry who are irremediably falling prey to the power of technology.


This being the case, it is no mystery that the entire education system directs its forces towards the progress of mathematical-arithmetical logic in order to continue improving this technological advance. It aims, in its untiring goal of pedagogical standardisation and cultural homogenisation, to dumb down individuals. To turn them into entities subservient to unilateralism which, unwittingly rid themselves of all innate and particular characteristics to become part of a homogeneous and, of course, up-to-date collective mass which, surprisingly, more and more resembles an electronic circuit.


However, we can fight that standardisation. It is known that there are different techniques to provoke brain stimulation, improve the way in which ideas are fixed, and to analyse, interpret and record new content in the brain. All these in order to reach an intellectual refinement that allows us to emerge from the cloud of argumentative fallacy in which the system has us immersed in. Among them we can find the usual doodling, whose simultaneous execution together with another task does not distract us in the majority of cases, but rather avoids falling into tedium and stimulates creativity.


Jackie Andrade claims, following her experiments at the University of Plymouth (UK), that doodling, in addition to being a mnemonic element, is a drawing that is a psychic brain resource that provides relaxation, evades reality and, consequently, provides a level of abstraction that allows better analysis, interpretation and assimilation of information. Doodling is therefore a preventive measure against lack of concentration and is an elementary ingredient in problem solving and deep data processing (Andrade, 2009). Sunnie Brown, another staunch advocate of doodling, signifies it as a free expression and argues that our culture is so intensely focused on information and verbal language that we are almost blind to the value of automatic drawing, for "it is innate, there is no denying the expression of this primal instinct" (Brown, 2011). However, when we face doodling reality we see that children, and even more so adults, who use doodling as a pastime, are often reprimanded. In the light of events, this action turns out to be a misguided act. Instead of reproaching and denying the creation of such spontaneous marks that help the individual to think, they should be encouraged, just as analytical thinking is fostered.


Intuitive and imaginative reasoning exists. And it is presumably a feasible possibility, for if every developing child possesses it and makes use of it continually, any willing adult would be able to preserve it and thus encourage it throughout his life, whether it be through scribbling or any other exercise that encourages one's own creativity.


This is how the present article is configured as an admonition, a return to the past to remind us of the imaginative capacity that every human being, a creative being by nature, possesses. A warning that we must play, paint, doodle, if we want to become inventive, critical, responsible: independent.



References


Andrade, Jackie (2009). What does doodling do? Plymouth University: United Kingdom. Available on: http://pignottia.faculty.mjc.edu/math134/homework/doodlingCaseStudy.pdf


Benjamin, Walter (1936). The work of art in the age of mechanical reproducibility. United Kingdom: Penguin Great Ideas


Brown, Sunni (2011). Doodlers, unite! TED Talks. Available on: https://www.ted.com/talks/sunni_brown/up-next?language=es


Martín, Juan (2018). El ver y las imágenes en el tiempo de Internet (Estudios visuales). Spain: AKAL.


Rancière, Jacques (2019). Distributions of the sensible. United States: Northwestern University Press. [1st ed.: 2004]



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Alicia Macías Recio

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