No, no, another one, another one, next… Thus we could summarize, should we get cynical, love in digital times. Tinder would be like Next, that MTV dating programme, but from the safety of your own sofa. It implies a distance (more an Amazon distance than a slave market one) that this GIF masterfully reduces to the absurd: even when we are face to face, the logic of the digital interface is king.
Sherry Turkle says in Alone Together that we expect more from technology than from others because others imply a risk. We prefer to consume than to know, even though that leaves us as lonely as ever. In this GIF, He can’t see Her: he sees the promise of a supermarket-world in which everything, even dates are limitlessly re-stocked. She isn’t one, but an infinite number of units: a dehumanized and mass-produced human. Today, everything’s a commodity.
But well beyond the joke and the critique, this GIF shows a certain angst that obsesses me: the melodramatic expression on Her face contrasts, with a potent disagreement, with the apathy on His face. Her face, on the other hand, looks like a mask (I think of Mishima) that doesn’t want to go away, that doesn’t want or is unable to reveal Her real self. Maybe we all have our virtual masks stuck to our faces by now (Lynch would applaud this Freudian turn towards the uncanny).
As most GIFs, this one seems to have no author, which in the end is an involuntary reformulation of pop art. The illustration is not Lichtenstein’s (it only looks like it) and thanks to TinEye I discovered that it comes from the stock CSA Design library. I’d like to think that someone possessed by Lichtenstein’s spirit, who without a doubt would have found the whole swipe left-right melodrama of our times terribly funny, added the animation. Let’s follow his (imaginary) example: after all, there was never a past in which we were better, and a swipe left is not much worse than trying to get into someone’s pants while dancing to King Africa.