Many of us have taken advantage of technological advances in one way or another. We find joy in the newest iPhone, the newest app, the newest smart TV, tablet, and so on. And while we’ve come to celebrate how easy such devices have made our lives (just Google it!), we’ve also been made aware of the way they affect our health.
Experts have shown the detriments to texting, whether it be an increase in car crashes and their resulting deaths, “selfie” fatalities, “text neck,” or even people’s diminishing ability to communicate off of their phones. And that’s just one way we use technology these days. If you went on a research binge to discover how our worlds have changed thanks to our phones, laptops, etc. would the good outweigh the bad?
The other day my barista was making me a latte when suddenly he lost track of his task, walked away from the now overflowing foaming cup, and picked up his phone. He had to catch a Pokémon.
Pokémon Go has created quite a stir, throwing children and adults alike into a frenzy over the free-to-play, location-based augmented reality game. With features like PokéStops, which provide players with items to attract wild Pokémon, and Pokémon gyms that serve as battle locations for team-based matches, the game has created a social media phenomenon. However, it has also attracted controversy, with various accidents and even deaths having been reported. Multiple governments have also expressed concern over the security of the game, with legislation being passed in some countries as a result, and Iran recently becoming the first country to ban the game.
While the media is constantly weighing in on the matter, other voices have weighed in, in a unique way. Take Polish illustrator Pawel Kuczynski for instance. Known for political cartoons constantly circulating Reddit, Facebook, and Instagram, he has spoken up, so to speak, on his feelings regarding Pokémon Go in a new work, depicting a happy Pikachu perched on the neck of a head-down gamer, reins coming from the boy’s mouth while he focuses on his phone screen.
The title? “Control.”
The illustrator is known for addressing issues like authoritarianism, party politics, cruelty to animals, and social media addiction. Karolina Prymlewicz, curator of the Museum of Caricature and Cartoon Art in Warsaw, calls Kuczynski “deeply involved and uncompromising in his political judgements and social diagnoses. He exploits the aesthetics of surrealism, makes skilful use of visual metaphors… and black humor is definitely his element.”
Having garnered more than 30 million views and half a million likes and shares from his page alone, Kuczynski’s Pokémon drawing creates a disturbing wariness of the game’s presence: distracted teens being hit by cars, a girl finding a dead body, and implied government surveillance.
“It’s a hot subject now. It’s not my best drawing and it’s not my best idea. It’s just my response to the big success of Pokémon,” Kuczynski explained.
Feeling saddled by an addiction to technology? This piece may likely resonate with you, and even perhaps depress you. It might make you wonder: Are people playing Pokémon Go, or is Pokémon Go playing them?