Our Editors On:
The JPEG by Rachel B. Glaser
How can we invent reality and tell it as a story to ourselves in an age when the digital sphere misleads us, blurring the boundaries between the real and the imaginary? The loneliness of Anna, the protagonist of this story, is symptomatic of her age and these times. She finds it hard to fit into a world that no longer offers clearly defined paths and seeks refuge in the awkward spaces that lie between artificiality, phoniness and imitation. However, the reader does not find her ridiculous, but rather identifies with her, acknowledging the familiar pitfalls that these spaces hold, which are both funny, touching and poignant. Rachel Glaser had good reason for situating her story in the art scene, where boundaries are broken more than anywhere else. The JPEG file, which gives its name to the story, raises a disturbing question that is at the heart of contemporary existence – how can you really distinguish Anna’s actual work of art from the JPEG file that is showcased in the virtual gallery?