The Tide of Society – Virtual exhibition tour
The Tide of Society is an exhibition of works central to the battle to retain a sense of true self amidst the mental bombardment from mass persuasion and systematically imposed duties. Trying to swim upstream is the only option for one who is subjected to this, if they wish to retain a true sense of self.
Although I created some ideas and imagery based around a tide of society whilst I was still a student, the majority of these ideas have been prompted by an unavoidable (due to position) 9-5 working life undertaken afterwards. The looming domestications, brought on by these duties and expectations of one, team up with the (already present) pressures of living in a consumer society. Indeed, for the first time I am beginning to understand my subjection to both ends of Capitalism: pushed into a job to become a wage slave, and pushed into the shopping aisles to become a participative consumer (“amusement under late capitalism is the prolongation of work” – The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception). Work and leisure time, alike, are confronted with the fact that “it’s much easier if you don’t think about these things too much” and so comes the lure to consent and conform to all that seems to be being suggested to you.
But where is this tide dragging society towards anyway? The ultimate compulsion within my work is to link every issue tackled to an ultimate concern: that of our predicament upon this planet in the 21st century. This fear has always engulfed and incorporated all other fears. We are pressured to increasingly consume more on a planet of drying-up resources; pressured into seeing that continuous growth is “the only way” on a planet which cannot afford our species much more growth; and then we are pressured to live our lives through digital devices, prompting ever-more isolation, hence more need to satiate ourselves via consumer outlets, whilst also becoming more separated from the ‘terra firma’ on which we depend.
The list of ways in which the tide of society is flowing to a place from which the earth can longer give us what we require goes on and on. This exhibition is mesh of global, social, and personal concerns, as we leave the first decade of the 21st century behind us: a fear of a possible ‘shared downfall’ of my own life, humanity and nature.
The isolated human figures with television boxes over their heads are named TV talks. They document moments when I have reiterated society’s directions/persuasions as pure reaction (my own TV Talk moments). I’ve used them to depict lonely, entrapped figures, eternally subjected to an indifferent larger power’s directions and diversions, rendering them into walking televisions sets: the self has been compromised for the rhetoric pushed along by the tide of society. They utter the social anxieties of a people reared to be self-obsessed and ‘bleakly’ individual; indifferent, and too self-concerned to pay attention to the collapsing world around them.
The Sprawl is incorporated around the shape of half of my bedroom, colonising all workable surfaces in the manner of the ever-expanding city. It is an expression of a how the city has become one giant super organism (although separate and hazardous towards the Earth’s working life systems). To realise that we (humans) have become like termites – economic slaves, acting for the benefit of this super organism, which is a completely unnatural way for humans to exist – is a necessity when one is finding modern life stressful and pointless, yet cannot figure out why.
The Sprawl is closely related to my obsession with maps. I have always been transfixed by the urban environment, perhaps down to an unwanted feeling of detachment from the rest of the human race. I am also transfixed by dates, the importance of dates which have shaped my perception of what is going on around me, and also the melancholy musing over what we are always losing as time passes. It seems highly probable that we will all become embedded in sprawling mega-cities, and amidst the life it dictates, as urban areas continue to expand.
THE HEALING PROCESS
These mounds have an unwanted and heavy presence, and even slightly obscure my drawings. The sculptures are piles of man-made rubbish, the guilt of an artist in a consumer climate that is piling up to obscure the things he feels most proud of (his framed drawings). The fossil-like traces of man-made objects are like the traces of a species now extinct. I realised the mounds took on an almost pyramid shape and they started to look like monuments to a species that had died out. They have both a positive and a negative suggestion: the positive being the individual appeasement I find from using at least some of the junk material made by the society I am bound up in, and the negative being the extinction of our species and natures resilience in regaining a ‘firm-footing’, leaving only traces of our species, which no other species can even acknowledge.
A FINAL ACCEPTANCE
The implications of living in such a commercially driven society are that one’s personality is chopped, diced, and edited, until it is able to fit in to the slots created by a society that has become more and more homogeneous as commerce prospers in a global community, where the means to distribute information are owned by so few: the pressures to conform to a whole manner of conventions are immense. My capacity for developing, re-learning and growing is massively constricted as the domestication into a system-friendly, ‘able and flexible’ adult, takes up more of the free mental spaces which allow my development as a human. The intensity caused by trying to resist a barrage of pressures causes a mental debilitation, which ‘hammers one down’ weakening them into submission. A final acceptance, in order to stem mental debilitation, seems like the safest option.
(8x4FT, Mixed media on board)
A Final Acceptance: mixed media (2010)
TV Talk: biro and cable (2010)
The Tide of Society: book (2010)
Central Bombardment: biro on paper (2009)
The Sprawl: biro on paper (2008)
The Healing Process: mixed media (2008)
This Hole Cannot Be Filled in a Car-Park overspill: biro on paper (2008)
Tomorrow I will do the same as I did today: biro on paper (2008)
The hole in my stomach is making the hole in the sky: mixed media (2008)
exhibition details as follows:
August 23 at 10:00am – September 19 at 4:00pm
|Four Thirty Three|
Thanks to anyone who has been down to the show, or is planning on going.
The book I made which accompanied this show can be previewed here