In this example of culture jamming, infamous political graffiti artist Banksy humorously depicts the truths of social media users. Although the piece illustrates Instagram, the intended message can apply to many other social networks, such as Tumblr, Facebook, etc.
The artwork dives into the world of “notifications”. Unfortunately, social media users have made their happiness dependent on the amount of virtual attention they receive. Quantity has overruled quality. Numbers have become the source of satisfaction.
It seems as if individuals of the digital age have mutual desires of cyberspace fame. Instagram and other social networks have created a new dimension – one in which people consume more than half of their life in.
Embarrassingly, I am guilty of identifying with the crying boy in the artwork myself. The more numbers I see in my notifications, the happier I am.
Banksy is known for his slick tactics of culture jamming. Despite media culture, he aims to expose to flaws in political culture as well.
In this piece, Banksy satirically critiques surveillance systems. This artwork was painted right next to a CCTV camera (not pictured), making this known as one of Banksy’s biggest stunts. In addition to the surveillance of CCTV cameras all over cities, policemen act as active watchers too. By replacing “One nation under God” with “One nation under CCTV”, Banksy advertises the idea of control, rather than unity. He aims to show that society is connected by controlling technological devices rather than the positive idea of a higher figure.