In 2023, emerging from the shadow of the pandemic, we are confronted with a vision of a changed America. Time stopped, patterns were disrupted -people were paralyzed by fear, saturated by boredom, engulfed in loneliness, and traumatized by mass death. These disruptions led to increased acts of violence, descents into addiction, road rage and vehicular homicides, deaths of despair, and a new wave of anti-social behaviors. Santoro's In Praise of Folly uses the self diagnostic tool of addiction recovery treatment, HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired), to explore post-lockdown social disengagement. HALT is intended to help those struggling with addiction identify their triggers and meet their basic needs. Here, each emotion/need is interpreted as an animistic hubcap encapsulated in modified tires. Referred to in the title as "The Four Horsemen," these characters drool, seethe, weep, and doze off, cartoonishly exaggerating their troubled states.
Santoro's horsemen are discarded parts from a car, a machine which runs not on horsepower, but on bodily and emotional neglect; a societal death drive, speeding through broken social systems towards self-destruction. Rage, addiction, destruction, radicalization, conspiracy, violence, self-harm- we have become a culture of madness, of folly. In a world built on folly, we are all the fool.