(CA 2017, 7 min)
Jon Rafman’s “Poor Magic” (2017) is a vision of a post-human dystopia featuring animated 3-D bodies continuously tortured in abstract digital space. The video presents the viewer with a haunting programme of repeating motifs: a blue featureless avatar, a view from a colonoscope, and ranks of identical figures crashing and toppling over each other, made with the help of crowd-simulation software. While a poetic lament, Poor Magic addresses the fragmented consciousness of a post-physical existence. The film presents a terrifying image of a future where all humanity is uploaded to a virtual purgatory and endlessly abused. Or perhaps it is also a brutal representation of the present moment and the effect that technology has on our flesh and psyche.