Alex Colley: War Office

  • Photography and Words  Alex Colley
  • Layout   Jordan Evans
Within his work ‘The Society of the Spectacle, the Marxist theorist and philosopher Guy Debord reflects on how for many workers their separation from the outcome, tends to eliminate any comprehensive sense of what their function might be, and what it is they’re ultimately working towards. He goes on to comment on how, although detached from what they produce, people nevertheless construct every detail of their world, yet parallel to this we are becoming increasingly separated from it, isolated by the very technology we work to create.

Both my parents are civil servants within the Ministry of Defence and have been for decades. Whilst gathering archival material from their corporate yearbooks, it became apparent that arrows, labelling and numbering were inherent throughout the aesthetics. I altered these images, erasing their captions, my intention being to allude to the overwhelming complexity of such technology, whilst also referring to an absence of understanding, as regards to the outcome.

The notion of the performance in relation to the spectacle is also fundamental to Debord’s philosophies. To illustrate this, I repetitively performed with various common forms of office equipment, isolated within the white cube. Each time abstracting myself and the objects, presenting obscure reimagining’s of their functions, humanising the technology and evoking a theatre of psychology. Thus, allowing the work to explore my own anxieties surrounding Debord’s ideologies, whilst also presenting personal reservations surrounding the stresses, predictability and banality, unavoidable when working within an administrative office environment.

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