Liturgy of the Object

“Strictly speaking, the humans of the age of affluence are surrounded not so much by other human beings, as they were in all previous ages, but by objects. Their daily dealings are now not so much with their fellow men, but rather—on a rising statistical curve—with the reception and manipulation of goods and messages. This runs from a very complex organisation of the household, with its dozens of technical slaves, to street furniture and the whole material machinery of communication; from professional activities to the permanent spectacle of the celebration of the object in advertising and the hundreds of daily messages from the mass media; from the minor proliferation of vaguely obsessional gadgetry to the symbolic psychodrama fuelled by the nocturnal objects which come to haunt us even in our dreams. … We live by object time: by this I mean that we live at the pace of objects, live to the rhythm of their ceaseless succession. Today, it is we who watch them as they are born, grow to maturity and die, whereas in all previous civilisations it was timeless objects, instruments or monuments which outlived the generations of human beings.” (Jean Baudrillard, Consumer Society: Myths and Structures)

Baudrillard wrote these words fifty years ago, but they are still equally pertinent. The difference is that objects have partly lost their physicality, assuming a purely virtual form, while advertising has been replaced by microtargeting, influencers, and product placement. Consumption has become the new religion, which a profusion of goods is perceived as “a blessing of nature, as a manna, a gift from heaven”, while advertising is “a new form of litany.” We live in the sphere of reality denial, consuming not so much the objects themselves but the signs assigned to then, a message assuming an almost sacral importance. 

Liturgy of the Object was commissioned by Warsaw Autumn Festival. 

Wojciech Błażejczyk 


Liturgy of the Object 
Lyrics: Wojciech Błażejczyk, based on fragments of books by Jean Baudrillard’s The Consumer Society Myths and Structures, Erich Fromm’s To Have or To Be, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Notes from Undergound, and popular advertising slogans. 


Introitus

Adoratio

Credo
The very essence of being is having,
                        If one has nothing, one is nothing.
I want everything for myself;
                        possessing, not sharing, gives me pleasure;
I must become greedy because if my aim is having,
                        I am more the more I have;
I must feel antagonistic toward all others:
                        my customers whom I want to deceive,
                        my competitors whom I want to destroy,
                        my workers whom I want to exploit.
I can never be satisfied,
                        because there is no end to my wishes;
I must be envious of those who have more
                        I must be afraid of those who have less.
I have imperative to enjoy myself,
                        to exploit to the full my potential for thrills, pleasure and gratification.

If I am what I have and if what I have is lost, who then am I?
                        Nobody but a defeated testimony to a wrong way of living.
Because I can lose what I have
                        I am afraid of thieves,
                        I am afraid of revolutions, I am afraid of sickness,
                        I am afraid of death,
                        I am afraid of love,
                        I am afraid of freedom,
                        I am afraid of change,
                        I am afraid of the unknown,
                        I am afraid of losing anything that I have

To experience an optimum of bodily pleasure is the goal of life.
Happiness is the sum of pleasures enjoyed.
Every article produced is blessed by the very fact of its being produced.
I have it, because I have the force to make it mine.
It has me, because my sense of identity rests upon my having it
These are my Valley of Canaan where, in place of milk and honey,
streams of neon flow down over ketchup and plastic.

All will be given to me
and I have a legitimate, inalienable right to plenty,
the natural right to abundance.
I regard enjoyment as an obligation;
I see it as my duty to be happy, loving, adulating and adulated, charming
and charmed, euphoric and dynamic.
I have to try everything,
for I am haunted by the fear of missing something,
missing any form of enjoyment.

                        Objects
By your number, redundancy, superfluity and formal extravagance,
by the play of fashion and all that exceeds pure and simple function in
thou,
you give us the grace of predestination

Oratio fidelium
Shower us with all earthly blessings,
plunge us so deep into happiness that nothing is visible but the
bubbles
rising to the surface of our happiness,
as if it were water;
give us such economic prosperity
that he will have nothing left to do but sleep, eat gingerbread,
and worry about the continuance of world history.

Contemplatio

Litany

We have been waiting for you
Happiness is here
You are in good hands

Everything you can imagine we will make it real
We create future to believe in
We will take you to the happiest place on Earth
We will fuel your dreams
Because you’re worth it
Impossible is nothing for us

Grab a handful of goodness
Double your pleasure, double your fun
Just do it
Obey your thirst
Do what you can’t
Have it your way
Think different
Live better
Open happiness
Taste the feeling
Find what you weren’t looking for

You are enough and you can be more
Thirsty for more?

Gloria
We are the masters of a new art: the art of making things true by saying
they are so.
We serve you. The personalized you.
In the sun of our solicitude you bask.
We give you the miracle of
Great Virtual Satisfaction,
the Total Affluence,
the Last Jubilation
Well-being and Bliss
We conjure up fantasies and directly plumb into your unconscious,
which is ready to be manipulated
Enjoy!

Profusion, piling high
Profusion, piling high

You are the object, the finest of objects, the most precious
exchange material.

Consume yourself!