THE FACELESS STATE OF POLITICS
It fascinates me that the Anonymous collective, describing themselves as an ‘anarchic, digitized global brain’ protesting against the system on and off line, has adopted the V For Vendetta mask as its emblem.
It's not surprising because Guy Fawkes was the original fire-starting anarchist, wearing a grinning version of his face is an obvious ‘Up Yours!’ to the current government enforcing Anti-Masks laws. It’s an effective psyche-out combat strategy too, naturally unpopular in parliament. But there's much more to it than that.
If it weren’t for the paradoxical balance of government secrecy and heightened social surveillance by The Powers that Be (as shady and totalitarian as any marvel villain that ever stalked the streets as Gotham) such measures wouldn’t be necessary.
Not to get too deep into the dirty realms of politics, I’m particularly intrigued because there’s much more to this symbol's legacy than most realise. I’m curious to watch the ruptures as life and art collide.
No-one knows exactly what Anonymous are responsible or capable of, which all just adds to the heightened mystery and potential threat. Watch 10 Things You (might) Want to Know About Anonymous here and see what ripples their enigmatic campaign has already stirred.
The ambiguious character of V, with his eloquently flowing prose, is a creation from an original comic written in the 80’s by a self-professed Wizard from Northampton Alan Moore. Moore set the story in the then future of 1997 and eerily prophesied the placing of CCTV cameras on every street corner in the UK (which was then, believe it or not, an
extreme fantasy scenario proving how fast things change). He never believed that his sardonic idea would soon become our reality.
Moore stresses the unconquerable force of imagination in his work, believing that meaning and power exist in the ability to create new languages and visual codes that eventually define reality. Without the ability to imagine and create languages (not necessarily written down or reserved for those in the know like legal speech) we cannot change the way we think or the world we live in. Language limits perception and perception shapes reality. Enhancing our modes of communication means enhancing our ability to change the dynamics of our surroundings.
Adopting this symbol as a mask has allowed a universal network of strangers to group together and communicate on another level, with an extra linguistic visual system that changes constantly and is a fluid and indecipherable code.
Alan Moore famously never watched The Watchowski Brothers V for Vendetta as he was fuming about how Hollywood had bastardised his baby. Regardless the emblem of his character, representing a simple visual ideal that is both timeless and universal, is speaking louder than the story ever could.
I bet he’s sitting back in his arm chair now, stroking his mammoth beard and pondering over the magical living concept he has unleashed onto the streets.
Reality has breathed life into his artistic creation, I'm curious to see how it will create new languages of its own, and what it will have to say.