Visualization becomes a way of engaging with a political and existential problem of great magnitude.
Karma Fails is the first chapter of Turbulent Times. Nothing Happens in Nice Weather, an investigation on the status of humanity in the present.
In the widespread consolidation of soft powers on the collapse of social contract, all problems become a personal test for the good life, while the global conflict for control is played through the use of memes, shitposting and nerd culture. We are taught to develop a deeper self-love while facing a catastrophe perhaps unparalleled in human history, living in a period of intolerable extraction, unequal human deprivation, multispecies extinctions, and blasted ecosystems.
Meditation perfectly fits the selfish ideology of wellness, where individual productivity and healthy living are status symbols, fueled by the trendy branch of wearable tech products. As Lordo Rinzler, founder of MNDFL, one of the trendiest meditation studios in NYC, says: “it’s no longer your spiritual friend saying you should try meditation, it’s your doctor.”
As capitalism appropriated of it, that ancestral practice became a trendy tool to increase economical profit, labour exploitation, soldiers performances, to decrease the costs of welfare and insurance premiums. Now freed from any New-Age influence and its original pacifist ideology, today meditation is often supported by a rhetoric of employability boosting and mood-hacking, practiced in harmony with the so called AirSpace aesthetics and Apple products’ design. It has become an effective biopolitical device, keeping a growing percentage of people busy in smiling at life while the world burns.
Witnessing this phenomenon we asked ourselves if meditation could be “hacked” to create a tool for critical thinking, a language that helps focusing on and deconstructing the pervasive visual stereotypes of capitalism in the Anthropocene.
This activity is promoted and performed through a fake meditation studio, called Meditation Is Visualization. Introducing people and art-professionals to critical visualization, we try to generate a viral and partecipative process of visual analysis.
The Cool Couple (often shortened TCC) is an artist duo based in Milan, Italy, and established in late 2012 by Niccolò Benetton (1986) and Simone Santilli (1987).
Their research focuses on the friction points generated daily in the relationship between people and images. The idea of images as active hubs, combined with a strong projectual attitude, results in the use of several forms of expression, ranging from fine art photography to electrostatic wipes, from meditation rooms to Chinese cover-bands.
The Cool Couple combines artistic research with didactics, because it’s good karma to share. They have been lecturers at: NABA (Milan), IUAV University (Venice), AplusA gallery (Venice), University of South Wales (Newport), IED Turin, ISSP, Riga, MADE Program, Syracuse.
They are founders of trendsetting cover band Rui & the Rainbow Dragons, members of POIUYT, a platform for image-based research, and among the editorial team of Genda Magazine.