Adatto, Technology and Confession

A recent Mars Hill Audio Journal interview with Kiku Adatto touched on the link between photographic images and the inner soul. Put simply, images capture in varying degrees of intimacy, the inner life of the person. As such, some images are often shielded from public scrutiny, from the gaze of those that are not so intimate. Yet in an age where any and every image is made available for public scrutiny, and often without consent, she argues that one is forced to prise open one’s inner life to all and sundry, and crystallises what Michel Foucault calls the “surveillance society”.
The interview is fascinating in and of itself. A more fascinating theme that was not explicitly mentioned, however, is that the exposure of one’s inner self is often associated with the sacrament of confession, where things that were otherwise hidden are brought to light as a step towards reconciliation with God and one another. Like confession, the “surveillance society” forces things we would rather keep private to be brought to light, as the “private sphere” is slowly obliterated into one seamless “public space”. Unlike confession however, the exposure of this inner self creates no reconciliation whatsoever, but rather further atomises the social fabric as that inner self becomes the subject of individual consumption.

It raises interesting questions on the ability of this technologically saturated age to create parodies of a sacramental economy. Where introduction agencies short circuit the social processes that often lead to the sacrament of marriage, Adatto’s insights lead one to consider if the sacrament of reconciliation is similarly being mass produced and commodified.

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