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For The Invisibles †


not everyone is a great storyteller

and not everyone has a great story to tell

but we have been convinced that reality is only

what we can prove

and preserve

by sharing1

so we write

fantastic fictions

and we record

often desperately

regardless of whether we have the skill

something worthwhile to say

a focus or grip

on truth

“the self we once knew no longer exists”2

and the self we once knew now skates anxiously

across the surface of life3

identities tethered

to data and timelines

edited faces

and their edited face facial recognition tags


beautifully curated4

the self we once knew became


more than a collage of content1

a living breathing chimera

and a series of abstract and skittish avatars

built on a huge pile of “ego boosting puffery”5

total disclosure

total transparency of living1

is what they sold

and then made decree

to remain invisible or unspoken here

renders us suspect1

of denying others and the world

access to our knowledge opinion and daily experience

no matter how questionable limited or mundane

so you

best say something

you best invent



a self

a  reputation

a permanent record


that you are somehow unique

belong here1

and deserve a place

sujatha fernandes is right though

do so without depth


nor mystery

no complexity4 no unknowns no


will like it

her use of the word eviscerate is savage

to disembowel

take the eyes


she’s justified

“personhood is being reduced”5

by illusions

and “bits”5


and defiled

by software

jaron lanier believes “this is no longer about us”6

he is a romantic

there is a chance it never was there is a chance

this is

and has always been

about the big servers6 and the

god-like soon to be talking heads in jars tech entrepreneurs who own them7

this is about power

and invisibles

with no official friends

no followers

nothing to share

nothing to pour into cloud of information encircling their entire existence1

those wretched invisibles

with no reputation

no repute

no standing

no leash

skate on very thin ice

they are



and found guilty

of “stealing

from humanity’s transcendental tech project

of self projection”1

they are traitors

and ghosts

these platforms


you watch me and I

watch you

and then we “police ourselves

knowing the corporation that gave us the [stage]looks on3

wonder why the self that is photographed is photoshopped

then run through a series of filters to ensure

it looks

like every other self wonder why

“the self that is writing [seems] so distant

from the self

that is being written about”

social surveillance becomes self surveillance”3

it’s terrible and

terribly effective

in ensuring discipline and


you best approximate supposedly normal behaviours because

social media is a regime3

alessandro acquisiti once asked,

“what would a future without secrets look like?”8

and carole cadwalladr recently showed us just how dark

a future

with that kind of undertow could be9

ladies and gentlemen roll up

and welcome


the human use of human beings10

richard flanagan once wrote,

“the aim of all dictators is to destroy all private life

because it is there we know freedom”11

and yet here we are

locked in5

an invisible version of his totalitarian


let yourself fall in love risk

a broken heart


but let yourself fall in “love [with] a medium

made of software [risk]

becoming trapped

in someone else’s careless thoughts”5

i wonder if mark zuckerberg sometimes wakes at night

fast breath and beating heart

anxious sweat wide eyed


that we’ll all just up and leave

a mass exile

followed by a mass exhale

“we cannot have a society in which if two people wish to communicate the only way for that to happen is if its financed by someone who wishes to manipulate them”5 so

i stopped skating

and skating for these guys

long ago

and we may cross paths one day

you and i outside

sit down and talk

slowly pile up those layers3

you’ll find me as I you

“quite odd” up close12


always a counter always a contrast always a contradiction



cognitive dissonance drives us forward13

and with any luck


and we will laugh at each other and

with each other

because of it and because of it all and because

invisible and unspoken

forever banished branded as thieves

we traitors

we ghosts


the unfiltered




we the unpublished

we the unknown

will sit there together

under the unfiltered unedited and uncut sun

all rough and raw flawed human ideal

knowing we’re free

and that our shit stories are real14.

  1. Chatfield, T. 2016. Appearances Can Be Deceiving. New Philosopher, 56-58.
  2. Dawesar, A. 2013. Life in the “digital now” Speech presented at TEDGlobal 2013, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  3. Simmonds, A. 2015. The Frankenstein Of Social Media. Womankind,August – October. 44-47.
  4. Fernandes, S. 2018. The evisceration of storytelling. Oxford University Press Blog.
  5. Lanier, J. 2011. You Are Not A Gadget. Penguin Books. England.
  6. Scwartz,O. 2013. Jaron Lanier is a humanist. Dumbo Feather, 37, 80-92.
  7. Lanier, J. 2018. How we need to remake the internet. Speech presented at TED 2013, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  8. Acquisiti, A. 2013. What would a future without secrets look like? Speech presented at TEDGlobal 2013. Edinburgh, Scotland.
  9. Cadwalladr, C. 2020. Facebook’s role in Brexit – and the threat to democracy. Speech presented at TED2019. Vancouver, BC, Canada.
  10. Weiner, N. 1950. The Human Use of Human Beings. Houghton Mifflin. USA.
  11. Flanagan, R. 2018. ‘things i know’. Smith Journal. Volume 28. p031-032.
  12. de-Botton, A. 2016. The Course of Love. Penguin Random House. United Kingdom.
  13. Harari, Y. N. 2011. Sapiens. A Brief History of Humankind. Penguin Random House. United Kingdom.
  14. Thanks Sujatha.

ISSN 2209-3028


Respond to Sujatha Fernandes's article, 'The evisceration of storytelling'. Oxford University Press, June 19, 2018.

Artwork Size

305mm x 223mm ⎮ Lanscape

Artwork Detail

'elixe' ⎮ 22⎮ 02 ⎮ 2021 • intalligo print • 01 / 01 • douce ⎮ stonehenge

Original Publication Date (So Fi Zine)

28⎮ 06 ⎮ 2021

Re-Publication Date (With Permission)

10⎮ 08 ⎮ 2021


Sujatha Fernandes (University of Sydney) ⎮ Ash Watson (University of New South Wales) ⎮ Travis Patterson (Byron School of Art)