Humanity’s survival relies on our ability to transform. Be it genetic mutation enabling us to adapt to our environment, groundbreaking surgery saving a life, or a political movement liberating a population from tyranny.
The act of transformation itself is grounded in myth. Ovid’s “inexhaustible granary”, the Metamorphoses is brimming with tales of the gods punishing, seducing and playing with humanity by transforming them into various animals and natural phenomena.
In modernity, transformation has become a vital source of expression. We transform ourselves daily with make-up—re-contouring our faces and restructuring our hair until we resemble our idealised selves. Fashion allows us to transform ourselves into different people as the situation arises—work clothes, sport clothes, party clothes—and social media provides a veil of unreality behind which we mask our flaws, replacing them with puppy dog ears and kawaii eyes.
But sometimes, as it is for Gregor Samsa, transformation overtakes us against our wills. Ageing, disease, even love, are all involuntary changes of state that affect the way we see the world. We meet them in battle armed with age-defying supercreams, wellness apps, dating apps and kale smoothies but they get us in the end.
Escape comes in the form of transformative experiences. The love affair between art and drugs is a long and storied one. Coleridge, Baudelaire, Bukowski—the proof is in the (90% proof) pudding. And for the teetotallers there’s tech. Virtual reality overlays the ‘real’ world with alternate narratives, blurring the line between gaming and life.
For Issue 4, KING KONG invites you to explore the subject of Transformation.
On sale September 25th.