How Did We Get Here?
“Ceremonial literature for a crashing spaceship.”—Skullphone
“...an odyssey of capitalist realism with hilarious depictions of our current dystopia, ranging from the attention economy and our technological enslavement to the art-world grift.”—@beyondwokeandproblematic
How Did We Get Here? is an interplanetary gripe session in the form of a comic book. Its target: pretty much everything. This postmodern hellfire sermon (delivered by a para-physical, ultra-terrestrial entity named Void) pinpoints the micro-absurdities and inconvenient perpetrators feeding the downward slide of contemporary culture. Hooks are thrown right and left in an attempt to halt our earthly souls from becoming completely quantified, price stamped, and sold to the highest bidder.
Void's unwitting victims herein include the blue-chip Art World, eternally returning Hollywood franchises, the military-industrial complex, The Strokes, Silicon Valley “Disruptors,” and the subtle tyranny of social media morality. Pretentious types might point out debts to Marxist cats like Mark Fisher and Eric Voegelin alongside psycho-spiritual theorizers like Erik Davis and John Keel. Overall, file somewhere between Monty Python’s Meaning of Life and an Adam Curtis-directed Saturday morning PSA.
And at a portable 32 pages, you can carry How Did We Get Here? everywhere—allowing you to never forget the relentless commodification of art and life in the 21st century. It’s a souvenir program from the greatest show on earth.
“The lies we tell ourselves when we recycle. The hauntological stagnation of culture. An art world that no longer places any premium on beauty, creativity, or modernism. Sterling Bartlett’s How Did We Get Here? answers its own question brutally and clearly... the strip is as tragic as it is clarifying. (And, given my hatred of Jerry Saltz, it gets extra points for illustrating the old NY Mag art critic’s symbolic role as everything that's wrong in contemporary culture.)”—Adam Lehrer