“What would happen to society if the consumer-debt industry were to be erased? To me, that canvas was something I was interested in exploring, so, for me, that’s what that last scene sets up. We’re about to watch Rome burn. That’s the world Elliot’s going to enter next season,” [Sam] Esmail said (Link to quote).
Had Mr. Robot been the cult hit its creator (@samesmail) imagined it would be, then a whole heap of questions may well not have arisen. As it happens, it is a commercial success, with much anticipation building as we await the release of Season Two. As a result of the hype that surrounds the show it’s due to make an appearance at #SBSW, with a 100 foot Ferris wheel announcing fsociety’s arrival on West 4th and Congress, Austin, TX.
During the “Troubled by Mr. Robot” series of posts, which is likely to continue to expand for some time yet, there have been many questions that I realise are simplistic and naive, but such naivety stems from the fact that I cannot quite get my head around just what is happening with a piece of popular culture that upholds subversive messages of anarchy. So here’s another question (or two): Is fsociety something we’re supposed to be aiming for as a kind of by-product of the show? Just what is the message that the show means to communicate to the beleaguered citizens of this world? Surely it’s ok to ask such a thing?
My confusion grows from reading that:
“Fans will also be able to enter a recreated fsociety lair and play retro videogames in the hacker arcade, and visit a freestanding 8-foot-high graffiti art wall that will be covered in fsociety postings and stencil artwork.
After all of this immersion into fsociety, festival-goers can stop by a custom screen-printing bar to pick up a limited edition Mr. Robot printed t-shirt and take photos in a provocative photo booth that will allow them to stand alongside the hacktivists who are fearlessly fighting for the 99%. Also, a vintage, basement-inspired hacker lounge will allow fans to relax and watch the pilot” (Link to quote).
Will the Ferris wheel ride, videogames, t-shirt, and photos, etc, be free of charge? And is that genuinely free of charge, or simply foc if you happen to have paid $$$s for your SBSW lanyard? What are people meant to feel whilst immersed in fsociety land? And do you just walk away afterwards wearing a smile on your face with your t-shirt and photos to post on social media? What would happen to festivalgoers who choose to “smash the system” by ripping down the Ferris wheel, by burning the arcade game station, and by using the hacker lounge as a latrine? Would all that be forgivable, given the spirit of the show?