Dear God I Just Want to Feel
1 September 2019
Dear God I Want to Feel is a series of collages consisting of photographs depicting a masked male overlayed with scans of fake wound tattoos and digitally painted elements reminiscent of Monster energy drinks (a nod to the Kyle Punching Drywall meme). WikiHow descriptions of carpal tunnel syndrome line the bottom – a condition affecting the wrists of veteran gamers and online warriors.

Dimensions: 4 x digital prints on PVC tarp, 3400 x 1730 mm

Dear God I Just Want to Feel was shown during “Falling Upwards” – a wrestling themed exhibition organised by the artist collective Lagoon Parliament. Falling Upwards took place in June 2019 @ 2 OG Contemporary Opportunities, Alte Münze, Berlin [lagoonparliament.org]
anomie [noun]
an·​o·​mie | ˈa-nə-mē
personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals.

* In the face of these prevailing values, many workers experience a kind of anomie.

[Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

Dear God I Just Want to Feel

A few years ago, there was a short-lived emergence of Silicon Valley fight clubs in which developers, feeling alienated from their bodies, met up to physically fight each other, farcically bashing each other with keyboards in defiance of their soulless day jobs. Economic hardship, long office hours and a future lost irrevocably to climate change resulted in pools of disenfranchised youth gathering online to express the meaningless of existence. This become so prevalent that it yielded its own genre of memes, going under the “doomer” handle. Doomer memes describe an apathetic existence without opportunities and values, with the posters referring to themselves as “doomers”.

The majority are male, spend a significant portion of their free time playing video games (despite claiming that video games no longer satisfy them), are open about their “social ineptitude” and lack of sexual experiences with women. The title of the work – Dear God I Just Want to Feel – is a quote from an anon’s exasperated rant after a gaming binge. Doomers believe that there is nothing left to (unironically) fight for, and view gaming not as a hobby, but as an antidote to a broken reality that cannot be saved, only ignored.

The term “anomie” often crops up in user discussions. It refers to feelings of alienation and a generational loss of meaning. Unsurprisingly, it goes hand-in-hand with nostalgia for a golden past when life was simpler. The purposelessness and hopelessness of contemporary life is felt so strongly that even horrific war-ridden times are lusted after. A significant portion of doomers end up being picked up by the alt-right, who teach them how to induce inner purpose by finding something to protect – be it a fictional anime waifu or a nation state. Macho heroes from folklore and history who risked their lives aggressively pursuing their goals are used to contrast the modern man – perceived to be weak and aimless.

Apolitical doomers believe wars to be generally “senseless”, but still romanticise about the ability of war to trigger a survival instinct and thereby induce an objective or purpose. No longer stimulated by the wounds inflicted in realistic shooter gamers, they yearn for real-life wounds that could trigger enough adrenaline to shock their bodies into feeling alive.