When Unicorns Burned the Silicon Valley

How does technology affect us? The drama of social media addiction is unfolding as Silicon Valley unicorns’ greediness poses blazing threats to humanity

Technology changes all the time; human nature, hardly ever — Evgeny Morozov

Technology Utopia

We all wished technology would be good. Indeed, we hoped that technology would reunite mankind by connecting people. Likewise, we craved for healthy democratic debate over the internet forums to create a hive mind. Surely, all the knowledge barriers would be removed for a better and happier life. We definitely wanted to achieve total spiritual transcendence. Yes, this was our technology utopia.

  • So it was. Tech heaven, all over, forever.
  • High five, hive minds! Hi symbiotic soul systems!
  • Freedom of speech for democratic fool forums.
  • Bits and bots to better our bodily fever.
clouds morphing into silicon valley unicorns
Social networks do best when they tap into one of the seven deadly sins.
Facebook is ego. Zynga is sloth. LinkedIn is greed — Reid Hoffman

Tech Addiction Driven by Greedy Silicon Valley Unicorns

As usual the greedy behaviors of a few disrupted the grand aspirations of all.  Soon enough the so called Silicon Valley unicorns (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, etc) looked to exploit millennials’ eagerness for a new ideal of freedom.  To make a lot of money in a short period of time, social media developed technology addiction schemes. Now, we have raised a generation of virtual ghosts, hooked on repetitive and meaningless screen interactions.

  • Looking for transcendence, we met withdrawal.
  • Unicorns rose and drove virtual numbing creed:
  • Disruption and addiction to feed the beastly greed.
  • Social bridle, swill pill, sure opiate for all

Existential Singularity Threat

The worse is to come. Admittedly, the race is already on to create artificial intelligence that will soon lead to the birth of a conscious singularity. By then, competition will no longer be between Silicon Valley unicorns but with uncontrolled, inhuman, non-physical entities. Afterwards, there will be no referees to moderate this existential threat to mankind.

  • Now, singularities fly by for the money!
  • Looms to doom your wombs. I used to f… the police.
  • Now I f…  startups made in Silicon Valley
a single bubble in a huge bubble bath of other universes
Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity,
and I’m not sure about the former — Albert Einstein

Big Bang Boom! Another Quantum Leap!

Big bang boom! If technology destroy us, may be science will find an escape route. Still, even a trip to Mars may not be far enough to hide.  In the end, quantum physics may open a door to a parallel universe. We hope that we will be able to make the big quantum leap, naked as the first humans, to another bubble free of artificial singularities.

  • After the big burn out, will there be time to flee?
  • Crack the code. Crank the wheel. Big bang boom! And release
  • Another quantum leap to the next bubbly spree.

Soundtrack for Unicorns video:

Technophobia rap song against the Silicon Valley unicorns


All visuals were selected, edited, animated and colored by SpareTag.com to form the following sequences:

  1. Technology Utopia. Simple open scenery to signify the purity of the technology heaven at the center of which sits the tree of life. But the Technophobia clouds are forming as the sun sets. Indeed. the birds fly away in anticipation of the approaching danger but also as the symbol of the vanishing spirit of the technology utopia. 
  2. Greedy Silicon Valley Unicorns. Slowly, the clouds are taking the shape of the Silicon Valley unicorns (courtesy Escalada‘s Chevalier a la licorne), morphing into a Shin Megami Tensei demon to suggest the evil technology addiction scheme.
  3. Existential Singularity Threat. Once again, the clouds morph, this time in the shape of a spaceship destroyer embodying the existential threat of artificial intelligence singularity. 
  4. Big Bang Boom! The land and the tree of life are burning until everything collapses into a black hole. By then, a bubble universe appears out of nowhere in which a new tree of life is growing. Other parallel universes sprout, providing an optimistic ending about life and science.

You may also like these stories:

Artaud | Fury Fear Folly in Theatre of Cruelty

Who is Antonin Artaud? Watch a mixtape of his drawings, film acting and radio recordings staging his life as art in the subliminal Theatre of Cruelty.

Watch Antonin Artaud’s animated drawings and film acting over his radio recordings

A certain state of Fury

During a meeting led by Antonin Artaud in 1925, the Research Office of the Surrealist group adopted the following statement:

“Before any surrealist or revolutionary consideration, what dominates in their mind is a certain state of fury.”

This statement reflects Artaud’s mindset and exposes his difference vis-à-vis the rest of the surrealists. For him, absurdity and irrationality are a way of life, not just figures of style and mannerism. Not surprisingly, the movement excludes him in November 1926.

During all his life, Artaud used multiple forms of expression.  He is alternately essayist, poet, actor, director, public speaker, illustrator, etc. All genres are put to work as desperate attempts to exorcise himself, identify his own image, and create self-portraits.

What is reality for Antonin Artaud?

Artaud had a beautiful face, enhanced by an intense stare. He modelled for Max Ernst, Balthus, Dubuffet or Man Ray.  On screen, he specialized in supporting roles of roaring madmen for famous film directors.  In “Napoleon” (Abel Gance, 1927), he plays a convulsive Marat.  He is a mystic monk in “Joan of Arc” (Carl Dreyer, 1928).  In the “Croix de Bois” (R. Bernard, 1932), he runs out of the trenches, screaming, before collapsing, ghastly, his eyes fixed and possessed. 

In real life, Artaud is unpredictable, with sudden and dreaded mood swings.  But more than anything else, his tragic brawls make people uncomfortable not knowing which part is comedy and which part is genuine.  This is as if he is living his roles and acting his life.  He refuses to distinguish between reality and fiction.  

For him, consensus defines reality. The same consensus the audience accepts when they enter a theatre and pretend that what they are seeing is real.

Antonin Artaud drawing on electroshock therapy
Animated drawing from Antonin Artaud about his pain and electroshock therapy

The Tormented Folly of Artaud and Van Gogh

For Artaud, self-imposed suffering is necessary to create art, the same way suffering defines the human existence. His essay “Van Gogh, the Man Suicided by Society” (1947) is critical to understand Artaud’s work.   He wrote this text after his own release from a 9-year internment in a psychiatric hospital. 

This is a Van Gogh biography from the inside.  This is a formidable thesis against psychiatric persecution and against the society:

because this is not the man but the world that became abnormal.”

While the essay is a true poetic interpretation of the famous painter’s esthetic, it is, above all, a very personal work. In truth, Artaud identifies himself with Van Gogh, as he would have done on screen, and tells about his own experiences.

Van Gogh fascinates Artaud because he was not painting

lines and forms, but parts of still nature as if in full convulsions.”

Artaud was himself an illustrator, and he practiced his art with the same fury and violence that he did everything else.  Doctor Dequeker reported the genesis of one of his creation, transposing with mastery the style of the artist:

“on a large sheet of white paper he had drawn the abstract outline of a face and in this space (…), without any mirror, I saw him create his double, as if in a cauldron, in burning torture and absolute cruelty.  He was in rage, breaking pencils after pencils, suffering internal pain from his own exorcism. Through the screams and the most feverish poems ever spewed from his tormented guts, he was beating and casting spells on a nation of rebel larvae, when all of a sudden, with striking resemblance, his face appeared.”

Morphing of 3 autoportraits by Antonin Artaud
I saw him create his double, as if in a cauldron, in burning torture and absolute cruelty

Existential Fear of fixity, order and cohesion

His fight against the real and the matter, against the physical imprisonment of his mind, is permanent.  His writing style also reflects the same existential battle against fixity, order and cohesion. To create an outlet for his natural fury, Artaud frequently uses the narrative form of badgering, sometime calling himself, sometime an unsuspecting correspondent, but more generally the entire world.

To master and corral his creativity, he hits a piece of wood with a knife or a hammer, while chanting and punctuating the diatribes forming under his hand.  You can easily read his writings aloud, as they match the rhythm of life, with their screams of love and hate. 

The form of his writings is also deconstructed. He sends words or groups of words back to the next line, bolded, centered or aligned to the right.  Many of his essays are collections of articles, conferences, letters, manifests, etc. Still, from the disparate juxtaposition, from the chaos, superior meaning springs, almost unreachable, sometime elusive, but always within the romantic tradition of the visionary poet.  

Antonin Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty

Artaud is best known for his essay on the “theatre and its double” published in 1938. As often with Artaud, the text is not just a critic. It is a true foundation for an innovative theory of total showmanship.  He complains that theatre in western countries is constrained by sequential narratives anchored in social and psychological conflicts. In the end, there is too much dialogue written for books and not for the stage. 

By replacing spoken language with music, dance, mime, ritual, mystic chants, lighting etc., a supernatural language of senses can better communicate ideas and feelings. To shock the audience out of its complacency, he proposes:

a theatre in which violent physical images crush and hypnotize the sensibility of the spectator seized by the theatre as by a whirlwind of higher forces.”

Soundtrack for Antonin Artaud | Fury Fear Folly in Theatre of Cruelty
The music was created by sampling and layering the basic recordings made by the poet for a radio production

Art for life – Life as Art – Art like Artaud

Throughout his life, Antonin Artaud embodied art in all its forms, mixing madness to supernatural, anarchy to creation, poetry to reality to form a total showmanship.  He corralled his internal fury to seed his creativity and reach new emotions and meanings for art.  At the same time, art provided a critical outlet for Antonin Artaud’s anxiety and delirium and became a true philosophy of life.  In a full circle effect, Antonin Artaud became its own mysterious piece of art.

Antonin Artaud (September 1896 – 4 March 1948) was was a French writer, poet, dramatist, visual artist, essayist, actor and theatre director.

You may also like these stories:

Orpheus, Modern Story about Art Love & Afterlife

Remember the Orpheus myth? Its appeal is universal as the bedrock of modern art, lasting true love and heaven in the afterlife. Dare not looking back!

Watch our version of the Orpheus myth

The myth of Orpheus appears around the 6th century B.C. but has remained vivid to this date in western imagination. The myth is comprised of three, somewhat unconnected, stories central to modern perception of Art, Love and Spirituality.  Difficult to be more universal than that!

The life cycle of Orpheus has been reinterpreted across the centuries, shading new light and new shadow on the weakness of human nature.  Let’s start with the basic story:

Orpheus, the misunderstood failed superhero

  • First is the coming of age of Orpheus as a musician and poet.  Apollo, the god of sun and music (and some say his father), gave him a golden lyre and taught him how to play it.  His mother was Calliope, the muse of epic poetry, who taught him to make verses for singing.  With this upbringing, Orpheus emerged as a talented, possibly “cocky,” artist able to charm all things. Wild beasts, rivers and stones fell under the spell of his music, poetry and singing. 
  • Then comes the age of Love with Eurydice.  But tragically, Eurydice died on her wedding day from a viper’s bite. Overcome with grief, Orpheus traveled to the underworld and played such sad and mournful songs that he softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone.  The underworld gods agreed to the return of Eurydice on earth but at one condition. That is, he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. In his angst, he turned too quickly after reaching the upper world and Eurydice vanished forever.
  • Finally, the story ends with Orpheus’ own death. After the Eurydice tragedy, Orpheus stopped worshiping Dionysus, the primitive god of wine and nature, for the ascetic cult of Apollo, the god of sun.  He developed purification rituals including vegetarianism and abstention from the love of women. This attracted a lot of resentment from the Dionysus devotees.  Some women threw sticks and stones at him as he played, but his music was so beautiful even the rocks and branches refused to hit him. Infuriated, the women tore him apart.  Only his head and lyre remained intact, floating down the river to the sea, singing mournful songs.
Orpheus practicing luth and singing with his mother Calliope
Orpheus with his lute made trees […] plants and flowers ever sprung — Shakespeare

What is the role of the artist in modern society?

The power of art links the three stories. In addition to giving comfort and joy, Orpheus music opens new doors, including the one to the underworld. Art makes things happen, stirring into life what appears to be dead, like rocks or deceased Eurydice. “By portraying the world creatively, heightening our perception and enriching our understanding of things as they are, art makes sense of life,” said art critic Terry Teachout

The most gifted artists take the ability to imagine, adapt, empathize and collaborate to another level through practice, discipline and courage (from the Australian Cultural Policy).  They aim to overwhelm ordinary people with the force of emotions, making everything more beautiful, opening transcendental meanings, and perhaps transform mentality.

Still, “No artist desires to prove anything,” says Oscar Wilde in the Picture of Dorian Gray, without being an ideologue or displaying “an unpardonable mannerism of style.” Per Akira Kurosawa, “the role of the artist is to not look away.” He must show the world as he sees it, and not as he wants other to see it. This “not to look away” resonates with the “not to look back” in the Orpheus myth. We explored this theme in our SpareTag video, this temptation of the artist Orpheus to embrace the underworld and gain full awareness of life and death.

Poets through the centuries have felt strong connection to Orpheus, the misunderstood radical artist brutally silenced.  His singing head floating down the river symbolizes that arts live on after the artist has passed away. Poetry becomes permanent to the point that for Rilke “there is ultimately only one Poet,” a spirit or a force that passes on from one living artist to another.

Orpheus and Eurydice in love on a swing
Orpheus and Eurydice are the perfect image of true love in the public mind

Orpheus and Eurydice, Love and Conspiracy

At first glance, the Orpheus and Eurydice myth represents the power of love and the power of art to overcome death.  But the recovery effort failed, which raises many questions about the nature of true love, the true character of Orpheus as well as the trueness of gods.

What is true love? Do we love a person for meeting our ideal of beauty and perfection?  In our SpareTag video, we took the view that the artist Orpheus was in love with life, personified in Eurydice, but encompassing the broader force.  “I loved beauty.  I loved loving.  I loved the world mysteries”.   So he looks back to satisfy his “selfish love for life”.

For Plato, Orpheus is a coward — on top of being cocky?!  His love was not “true,” as he did not want to die in order to be with the one he loved.  Instead, he provoked the gods’ ire by singing his way to Hades to get Eurydice back alive.  The gods punish him. First, they gave him only an apparition of his former wife that faded in the sunlight of the upper world. Then, they have him killed by women.

Oh, we love this conspiracy interpretation of the Orpheus myth and built it in the core of our SpareTag video, with plots and counter-plots in the pure tradition of the Greek/Roman mythology.

Orpheus playing the Lyre full of sorrow
The fight of good against evil is an integral part of the Orpheus myth

Where Spirituality meets Psychoanalysis

  • The Orpheus myth represents the journey of the soul. The soul must descend to the lowest point before it is purified, and can ascend again.  It is the same cycle than nature.  The seed after ripping in the sun falls down into the darkness of earth to grow up into the light again. Correspondingly, Orpheus sings lazily in the sun before going to the underworld. He rises again as an ascetic worshiper of the sun god until death, when Orpheus becomes part of nature.
  • The fight of good against evil is an integral part of the Orpheus myth.  For the Medieval theologians, the return of Orpheus in the light symbolizes the desire of purity. However, this desire is clearly tested when he looks back longingly at the underworld.  This good-vs-evil conflict, expressed by the not-looking-back theme, can also be found in the Biblical story of Lot’s wife when escaping from Sodom.
  • Of course, religion is never far away.  Orpheus was a shaman able to speak to animals and visit the underworld.  His rejection of the pagan Dionysus cult for a single loving god is a prelude to Christianity.  There is a striking parallel with the figure of Jesus. Jesus, the son of a God, was a miracle maker and a a misunderstood new cult teacher. He was executed by non-believers and also returned from the realm of death.
  • Psychoanalysis in the 20th century brought new interpretations. Psychoanalysts saw in the recovery trip to Hades, a failed attempt to resurrect the past of a dead love.  A doomed attempt per Oscar Wilde since “each man kills the thing he loves.” One step deeper, the Jungians saw in the Orpheus and Eurydice tale an act of separation of the Self from the Other.

The Orpheus myth is a story of hope 

Still all is not dark in the story. According to some accounts, the spirits of Orpheus and Eurydice end up finding each other in the Elysian Fields, the paradise in the Underworld.  Our SpareTag video also ends on a happy note where Orpheus brings love and peace to the underworld.  What’s not to like about a good Creation myth!

Soundtrack for Orpheus 

Soundtrack exploring playful acoustic and darker electric harp

You may also like these stories

How to become a Grim Reaper ?

Do you believe in fate? Check out our Ray Bradbury video about the grim reaper, including Munch and Van Gogh animation. Your turn to change destiny!

Do you believe in fate? Check out our adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s grim reaper tale

The Scythe short story from Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury said about his short story “The Scythe” that “It’s a double metaphor. It’s the automatic metaphor of knowing farmers and seeing them using the scythe on occasion, and then the obvious metaphor you saw in cartoons or war and death. Reaping harvests. I must have seen a cartoon and carried it to the next step.”  Well, it must only be fate that brought the plot full circle into an animated video of the Grim Reaper.

Fate is indisputably the central character of the plot, more than the Grim Reaper himself.

Do you believe in Fate?

It is fate that drove the family to food and shelter, as if the family man had been the chosen one, led to the farm just in time, to succeed in the role of his passing predecessor.  Hence, was everything written in the first place with nothing left to chance or free will?

When the family man realizes that he is killing people every time he uses the scythe, he has to come up with a justification. He is doing what he’s doing for the greater good of his family. The key question is whether it would have been possible then to walk away from the predicament.  “Let him take them freely” says the giver’s letter about the farm, the wheat, the scythe and the task. This suggests it could have been possible to disclaim the property.  But it does take courage to say no, as there is always a price to pay.  Leaving the farm would have costs the family the certainty of food and shelter without any guarantee of survival. 

Are we choosing the easy way and calling it Fate?

Instead, by accepting his fate against the promise of food and shelter, does the family man seal the deal that will lead to his family destruction?  He knows still per the giver’s letter, that the Grim Reaper is “alone in the world as it has been decreed.”  This story was written in 1943 during World War II and echoes choices made by the Nazis in obeying orders, refusing to stand for what is right and later denying any responsibility. 

Animated painting from Van Gogh showing a grim reaper harvesting its wheat field
Poor chap who inherit the job of the grim reaper and can’t escape his fate

Fate, however, continues to tighten its grip. As Henry David Thoreau once said: “It is what a man thinks of himself that really determines his fate.” It becomes more and more difficult for the family man to let go of his new professional duties: “Can’t let nobody else mess with that wheat; they wouldn’t know where to cut and not to cut.  They might cut the wrong parts.” The greater good has shifted from his family man’s duties to the humanity’s fate.  So, is there a turning point when one does lose control of his own fate?

Or are we prisoners of Fate like the Grim Reaper?

As the story unfold, the question of free will against fate comes again.  When the family man sees the stalks that represent the lives of his family, he refuses to cut them in a desperate move to counter the writing in the wheat.  We see again that this decision is not without consequences as his wife and kids can neither die nor live.  Worse, the outcomes are now between two evils. 

Does it mean that fate always wins in the end, and that our lives are pre-ordained?  Well, we hope there might be a window, a fork in the road, where it is still possible to exercise free will to choose a destiny, like leaving the farm early on for better or for worse.  In this story, there was clearly a time to act honorably and a time to regret desperately. 

Ray Bradbury may have had a darker view of life as his short story starts with: “Quite suddenly there was no more road.”

You can read The Scythe short story here. A very grim Grim Reaper story indeed!

Soundtrack for ‘How to Become a Grim Reaper?’

Soul Reaper was inspired by the dark ambience of Dead Can Dance

You may also like these stories:

Best Way for Spreading Light

Edith Wharton’s quote: “There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it” is an allegory for inspiration and creativity.

Watch video inspired by Edith Wharton’s quote on spreading light

Interpretations of Edith Wharton’s inspirational quote

This famous quote from Edith Wharton has different meanings to different people.  Social forums have these various takes on it:

  • There are two ways in which people can live their life. They can either follow their heart and do what they want. Or, they can be the person that appreciates what others have done.
  • Many of us have the tendency to think that supporting others means that we’re inferior.  It’s sad that many of us prefer to start substandard projects instead of helping someone who is better at it.
  • Candle melts as time goes on. Its length decreases proportionately with time and finally it gets extinguished. Now look at the mirror. It does nothing except reflecting light but gives an impression of being a never ending source of light.
  • The light refers to any positive aspect of life, be it knowledge, kindness, or even love. You can always spread this positivity of life, without being the cause of it.
  • We’re all both candles and mirrors at different points in time and in different situations.
lighthouse lenses and mirrors spreading light
The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind. A. Einstein

Spreading Light and Creativity

Interestingly, this quote is rarely seen as an allegory for inspiration and creativity. Still, one could understand it to describe the process of looking at someone’s idea from a different angle, or through a different filter, to build new concepts.

As Steve Jobs once said, “Creativity is having enough dots to connect.” In a world of great scientists and researchers (the candles) another talent (the mirror) can reflect on the discovery from the experts to propose pragmatic solutions in other areas.  There are multiple business examples of such successes:

  • Hospitals improved their check-in process after consulting with hotel managers;
  • Oil transmission companies found better ways to seal cracked pipelines after understanding the self-healing properties of capillaries;
  • A whitening toothpaste was developed by studying how laundry detergents whitens clothes

Indeed, mirrors are as important as candles with their ability to extend and concentrate the light into new areas.

the sun spreading light on the beach
Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World. Christopher Columbus

Edith Wharton (January 24, 1862 – August 11, 1937), born Edith Newbold Jones, was an American novelist, short story writer, and designer.

Soundtrack for ‘Best Way for Spreading Light’

You may also like spreading light on this: