WE HEAR YOU’RE NOT THAT KEEN ON TECHNOLOGY...
I don’t have an internet connection, or a mobile phone, or a TV signal. I can play [digital] music on the television, or on the computer I suppose, but I don’t. I am pretty much cut off from the 21st century. It’s like culturally I’m trying to establish a kind of sensory deprivation tank for myself, whereby I am receiving no modern signals whatsoever, because I’ve heard that after a while in a sensory deprivation tank you start to hallucinate and have all sorts of strange experiences, so I’m waiting for that to happen.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE WITHOUT THE INTERNET?
It seems to work. I am pretty much cut off from the majority of the 21st century, but not much escapes me. You hear about everything, because you’re talking to people, you’re absorbing a lot of this information as if by osmosis, just through the pores of your skin. I have said that by embracing the internet in the way that it has done, which was kind of inevitable, society has embarked on a massive experiment without having any idea of the various ways in which those technologies will impact upon us socially, politically and psychologically. So I so think if there’s this huge experiment going on, it’s best that I remain outside the petri dish, as a kind of control, so that we’ll be able to see how badly the rest of you have mutated, by comparing you with me as a kind of baseline.
YOU’VE HAD A COUPLE OF SUCCESSFUL KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGNS, THOUGH
That’s true. But this was at the suggestion of other people who actually live in the modern world with everyone else, rather than in some imaginary version of the 19th century with me. I was prepared to give it a go and yes, we got the money for it and we’re making the film [Jimmy’s End], so it was a success. However, whether I would ever want to do it again, I really don’t know. It does seem like aggressive begging. That’s not to decry the service at all, it sounds like a very important one and a real way for a lot of probably fringe material to actually see the light of day.
So, yes: I am prepared to engage to a certain extent. I recognise that the technological modern world is there, I’m not in denial about it, I know that there is this thing called the internet. But it seems to be mainly a novel way of watching pornography and venting your hostility, and I’ve got plenty of my own pornography and plenty of ways of venting my hostility.
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE MASK FROM V FOR VENDETTA BEING USED BY THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT AND ANONYMOUS?
I’m glad that the modern protest movement, which I greatly admire for the most part, has found something of use in something I did 30 years ago. I can’t claim any credit for the work that these people are doing - they’re the ones who are out there in sub-zero temperatures, braving the tear gas and the nightsticks. I’m sitting at home in comfort writing my comics. It’s always a bit strange when things that were previously only inside your head are suddenly rampaging up and down the high street.
HOW DO YOU SEE THE FUTURE TURNING OUT FOR HUMANITY?
I don’t think it’s pessimistic or optimistic. Most of my dystopias are meant as diagnosis. They’re about the present, they’re warnings: don’t let this stuff go too far, or we might end up with something like this. My personal view is that we are on an escalating curve of complexity. I think this is the major issue that underpins everything in the contemporary world. Everything is becoming more and more complex, at an exponential rate. Human information is doubling around every twelve months, and counting. If the graph holds up, there comes a point where human information is doubling every split second. Imagine: every split second, there will be more information created than has existed in the previous history of the world. I don’t know what human culture is like on the other side of that. I don’t know if it’s even still there, but it’s different, whatever it is. And I suspect that it will be a mixture of a utopia and a dystopia, an apocalypse and a genesis. It will be the usual glorious human mess.
Fashion Beast is out now.