The oft-referenced Milgram's experiment is the source of this conceptual portrait, depicting the subject of the experiment, the Teacher. The experiment was meant to measure one's willingness to obey authority absolutely despite moral or contentious objections. In the experiment, two volunteers were selected as the Teacher and the Learner. The Experimenter was the authority figure, commanding the teacher subject to give electric shocks in increasing levels of intensity to the Learner, for every question answered wrong. The Learner was actually a confederate in the experiment, and no shocks were actually being administered - instead, a tape recorder played back pre-recorded responses of anguish and pleas to end the experiment, at which point the Experimenter would command the Teacher subject to continue, that he must continue, that he had no choice. 37 out of 40 test subjects continued to do as they were instructed despite their concerns for the safety of the Learner, and any moral objections they had.
The experiment was designed to test obedience to authority, in an attempt to explain how Hitler's command structure could carry out such atrocities despite any moral objections they may have had.
And so this portrait represents the Teacher, the middle man in the structure of the experiment , the one Milgram would command to administer pain on command to another human. The wires in the shot, a loose reference to the supposed electric shocks of the process, are meant to convey the path of the experiment, from authority figure to "middle man" to victim. He is under duress, but is turning towards the victim, intent on carrying out his orders.
My title comes from the song by the same name by Peter Gabriel, a mood piece with a stark chorus "we do what we're told, told to do…" also based on the Milgram's experiment.
Model: Zack Barnes