As paranoid political conspiracies go, Pizzagate has to be one of the more absurd and troubling. In r/Pizzagate I-V, net artist Michael Green creates a series of graphic digital images that explore the conspiracy theory that led gunman Edgar Welch from North Carolina to Washington D.C. to investigate the supposed pedophilia dungeon lying beneath the unassuming Comet Ping Pong pizza parlor.
"The theory is so bizarre because it is the most serious allegation one could make, yet the presentation of it makes it seem like a joke—the conspiracy theory aesthetics of poorly-edited YouTube videos and the subculture of Twitter making jokes about it," Green tells The Creators Project. "However, when you observe the content, one could argue that it is reasonable to question whether there may be something there that needs further attention."
Green feels that the Pizzagate gunman thrust the theory into a whole different dimension, and in doing so, the theory—which seems to have started as a joke on 4chan and Reddit—has mutated into a looming threat on the Comet Ping Pong staff. For Green, it was all too much to handle, so he turned to art.
Green made the entire series under the influence of BrainForce, an advanced neural activation pill he purchased (on sale) from Infowars.com on election day. He plans to write a "thorough review" on the Infowars website when he finishes the bottle. For now, Green says he definitely had a reaction to BrainForce, which he suspects is due to the yerba mate in the admixture.
"Overall, [I had] increased zeal, focus and determination," Green says. "You actually become Alex Jones! Increased ranting & paranoia. I regularly take the pills when I know I am going to work on art, so I can work long hours with the euphoric energy it takes to make a work of art mystical. I did the research on BrainForce and it is a bit overpriced, and they shorten you with ingredients, but I figured it was worth the price of admission for the bottle itself, the foremost readymade art object of the 21st Century."
"I used Maya animation software and an advanced renderer to produce the images. I had to be very careful with the subject matter," he adds. "It was very dangerous to work with images that dealt with human child trafficking, and I consulted those close to me and asked for advice on how to present the material to make sure I wasn't going too far with being too graphic."
Even though Green was cautious with this work, he believes that new political art must be shocking and, if necessary, offensive. He feels that it should also confront all of humanity instead of preaching to the choir.
"This is the first year that really felt like 1984," Green says. "Information is vanishing. There is no resistance because nobody knows what is true or fake anymore."
He believes people need "collective electroconvulsive therapy" in the form of political art: "We have seen from this election that art can actually influence the political spectrum, something that 20th century art could not accomplish," Green muses. "Pepe was featured on Hillary Clinton's website because the political meme actually had an influence. Artists should realize this power and take advantage of it before the A.I. algorithms control all information in the near future."
Green didn't design r/Pizzagate I-V to persuade viewers to adopt his own personal perspective. Instead, he wanted to explore the main points of the Pizzagate theory objectively, while examining the major issues at play.
"Should Pizzagate be censored from Reddit and Twitter? Is this theory dangerous? Is there any questionable material within the theory that is worth investigating?" Green wonders. "To those who easily dismiss Pizzagate as nonsense, I would hope that this series of work would intrigue them to look into this a bit more. For those who are easy to take the leap of faith, I would hope that this series would influence them to be skeptical of their conclusions."
Click here to check out more of Michael Green's work.