Consumer culture

2004
Chain

As regional character disappears and corporate culture homogenizes our surroundings, it's increasingly hard to tell where you are. In Chain, malls, theme parks, hotels and corporate centers worldwide are joined into one monolithic contemporary "superlandscape" that shapes the lives of two women caught within it. One is a corporate businesswoman set adrift by her corporation while she researches the international theme park industry. The other is a young drifter, living and working illegally on the fringes of a shopping mall.

1971
Videofreex, Chicken Dinner

The Videofreex tape a group of young people working on a farm run by Chris Locke and his wife in Shandaken, NY.  After learning how to take care of the chickens, they are taught how to kill and pluck one.  Later they sit down for a communal dinner, and one of the group exclaims "Mmmmm, tastes good!"

 

2009
China Town

China Town traces copper mining and production from an open pit mine in Nevada to a smelter in China, where the semi-processed ore is sent to be smelted and refined. Considering what it actually means to "be wired" and in turn, to be connected, in today's global economic system, the video follows the detailed production process that transforms raw ore into copper wire--in this case, the literal digging of a hole to China--and the generation of waste and of power that grows in both countries as byproduct.

2003
Cinepolis, La Capital Del Cine (Cinepolis, the Film Capital)

"Perhaps Cuevas' most chilling work, Cinepolis forecasts an image-driven invasion of everyday life, picture-perfect and unnoticed. This alien intrusion comes in the form of a fully branded consumerscape that cheerily foists fast food along with the fantasy. Irreverent and biting, Cuevas fights back with the only weapon available--images of the enemy, and the enemy’s images."

--Steve Seid, Pacific Film Archive, 2004

This title is also available on Half-Lies: The Videoworks of Ximena Cuevas.

1992
Conspiracy of Lies

"Conspiracy Of Lies speaks of the alienation of minorities, of consumer culture, urban isolation and the fine balance between mental order and chaos. The video begins with a voice (my own) recounting the story of the discovery of a series of diary entries and lists written by an anonymous author. When I found the texts, I assumed the author to be a white, gay man, like myself. Through the use of twelve narrators of different race, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, I attempted to destabilize my own subjectivity and challenge my pre-existing assumptions regarding difference.

2018
Zach Blas, Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 

Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 is a re-imagining of scenes from filmmaker Derek Jarman’s 1978 queer punk film Jubilee, starring Susanne Sachsse and Cassils. Contra-Internet: Jubilee 2033 follows author Ayn Rand (Susanne Sachsse) and members of her Collective, including economist Alan Greenspan, on an acid trip in 1955. Guided by an artificial intelligence named Azuma, they are transported to a dystopian future Silicon Valley.

2003
STERLING RUBY, COOK

Transcription of voice over from COOK: "I’m a chemist/I’m a cooker/I’m a manufacturer and a distributor/I’ll do whatever the fuck I want in the privacy of my own home." 

A disguised and threatening voice repeats this rhythmic slogan over found footage of meth labs seized by law enforcement. Made in 2003, this video remains eerily relevant, addressing the violent and irrational impulses underlying the American Dream of free enterprise.

2012
Laura Parnes, County Down

County Down is a cross-platform, episodic, digital video, exploring an epidemic of psychosis among the adults in a gated community, coinciding with a teenage girl’s invention of a designer drug. A rave-culture period-piece that harnesses the unwarranted optimism of the 1990s, County Down presents a society so obsessed with novelty and consumerism that it euphorically sews the seeds of its own destruction. Tracking the genesis of our current political climate, the ensemble cast banks on cultural appropriation and a constant din of micro-aggressions.

2005
Uncomfortable: The Art of Christopher Cozier

Uncomfortable journeys through the work and ideas of Christopher Cozier, a leading contemporary artist in the Caribbean. The video presents Cozier's witty and incisive drawings, installations and videos in the context of post-independence Trinidad with its oil-rich economy, complicated ethnic politics, and vibrant cultural forms.

2001
The Creators of Shopping Worlds

Brave new shopping worlds are being created. What have mall owners, architects, surveillance technicians, and supermarket workers done to turn human subjects into pure streams of consumers, into the perfect inhabitants of shopping mall paradise?

1997
Crush

Crush is the story of a man who wants to turn into an animal as told by the man himself, and one or two observers. He employs a variety of techniques to transform himself into a beast, including cutting off parts of his body, exercising, swimming; he wants to return to the water, to speed up evolution a little. Has he gone mad, or is he just tired of being human? As the narrator descends into private obsessions, we begin to perceive the distorted outlines of reason which guide his descent.

2019
Curious Fantasies, Jesse McLean

The language and imagery related to celebrity perfumes (both descriptive and visual) are a starting point to think about consumer desires and the corruptness of branding. Give us your songs, your smells and we will give you everything. The rich get richer, everyone smells poorer.

2003
Dark Sun Squeeze

Dark Sun Squeeze is a darkly meditative exploration of a sewage treatment plant, revealing the hidden rhythms and bizarre journey of raw human waste. The images of flowing waste speak of decay, destruction, of madness inherent in excessive consumption. At the same time they reveal the redemptive side of detritus, its regenerative potential, the sublime that exists in the abject.

“Paweł Wojtasik delivers the final word on the absolute value of news, money, politics and just about everything else.”

-- Holland Cotter, The New York Times, Oct 1, 2004

1981
Deadline

An insert square of a man running is superimposed over a magnified mouth that speaks to him — first in nurturing encouragement, then with a no-win Mommie Dearest kind of criticism. Originally presented as an installation on six monitors, Deadline focuses on “the stress man feels in the urban environment,” using a range of digital video effects to stretch, compress, flip and fracture the image.

1999
December 3rd, 1998--12.03-1:17 A.M.

A specific period of late-night TV channel surfing is dissected and manipulated through fast forward and freeze frame. Cultural icons (Roseanne, Mary Tyler Moore, The Golden Girls) can occasionally be glimpsed amongst the detritus, while the echoing and ghostly soundtrack pays homage to the cultural isolation of solitary viewing.