the design of melancholy

by  luis alegre


Available in PT and EN 🇵🇹🇬🇧

It is time we slowed time down; in the online context, sadness emerges too as a brief moment of indecision, a chance to make room for an instance of reflection. Popularly used in text messages, the sad emoji (😔) is a sign as attractive as worrying of the strangeness inherent in the fluid communication enabled by digital media. A gargoyle it is; a mask of an iconic expression/depiction of sadness; a package and container of all circumstances that might be described as "sad." Through such a formal simplification—a mask of sadness—we seek to soothe our suffering, which is but a puerile attempt to sink into the deep melancholy of our existence. This instance of infantilisation/simplification makes us trust the communication systems and the machine because we feel we control it, but our heroic desire for ubiquity fails flat due to an imploding self-esteem that exists only in virtual appearance and feeds off spontaneous gratification. We struggle for glimpses of inner revolt and disquiet to grow in strength and resolve, but we do not know how nor when to decide to leave the networks. Our psychic structure is frail and has been corroded from within, which makes room for "behavioural changes." Melancholy returns exactly when the online world has finally worn us out.

Published by DELLI_press & Stolen Books