The Digital Age, also known as the Information Age, or New Media Age, is known for its rapid shift away from all the historic periods before in which matter matters. Indeed, we live in a time where matter doesn’t matter no more. The digital presentation or representation of things radically replaces the things themselves, and shine on a backlit surface in a dimly lit living room with glossier looks and more saturated colors. It’s difficult to imagine a role the ancient has to play in the world we live in. But let’s imagine anyway.
Artist Pocobelli’s new project “The Peloponnesian War” magically fuses Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, Greek vase paintings, and an iPhone. Pocobelli says, “After reading Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, and realizing that it hadn’t yet been conveyed as an art series, I decided to embark on the journey to retell the story, using an iPhone as my tool and Greek vase paintings as my source imagery.”
The ancient is thereby brought back to the present, the dead re-awakened, the catastrophic collision between democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta resurrected. The shiny backlit surface in my dimly lit living room hurls me off my feet from my white linen sofa, and pulls me towards the debris of a violent past of humanity. I am reminded of the Klee painting “Angelus Novus” used by Walter Benjamin in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History.” The storm of progress irresistibly propels the angel of history into the future, but the angel has his back turned towards it, instead, facing the past, and the pile of debris before him grows skyward.
The little digitalized Greek figures of the “The Peloponnesian War” project is a pile of debris from ancient Greek. Only that legless, armless soldiers, decapitated corpses, rotten bodies are radically replaced by digital figures of curly hair, big eyes, and seductive open arms and legs.
Pocobelli's website: https://pocobelli.net/