“In the modern age, ritual, repetition, and reproduction have become the fate of the entire world, of the entire culture. Everything reproduces itself—capital, commodities, technology, and art. Ultimately, even progress is reproductive; it consists in a constantly repeated destruction of everything that cannot be reproduced quickly and effectively. Under such conditions it should come as no surprise that religion—in all its various manifestations—has become increasingly successful.”
-Boris Groys, Religion in the Art of Digital Reproduction
When we ask ourselves why we feel a certain way about religion, why we choose to engage or disengage from conversations happening in the political landscape, or why we remain either active or silent on social media outlets, there is the implication of how these choices will affect the perception of our identity to others. Why is it that with these intangible forces, so much is at stake? Can we blame the internet? Or is it the benign things we do every day that contribute to an identity perhaps knowingly complacent about the status quo of the world, the wars, and the cultures within it?
Boris Groys identifies a cultural destruction brought about by digital reproduction. We want the security of a meaning given to us through religion, a thing no more based in tangible evidence than a digital file embedded in the deep web. Yet, there is sense of security in these things. We can throw away ephemeral ideas and replace them with concrete, reproducible networks, data, cloud-based platforms, and public profiles. It is liberating, yet operates inside a web only viewable on screens, lots of them. It is an incredible gamut of information, yet much of it is made inaccessible, not unlike the “tip of the iceberg” analogy.
Ritual Rendition questions the boundaries of these concepts, implicating the viewer, the internet, and other places where we worship.