Consumer culture

2011
Daniel Eisenberg, Unstable Object, The

What do a luxury automobile, a cymbal, and a wall clock all have in common? What are the diverse attachments and experiences produced by those who make these things and those who consume them? What exchanges take place through the object itself—sensually, esthetically, abstractly? We often forget that most of the things we use are made by the labor of others, often in distant places, living dramatically different, diverse lives. What do these objects mean to them? How does their labor, their aspirations, their sense of alienation or satisfaction connect to ours?

2011
John Smith, Unusual Red Cardigan

The discovery of a VHS tape of the artist’s films for sale on eBay triggers obsessive speculation about the seller’s identity.

1994
Utopia

Playing off the notion of “interactivity”, Utopia poses itself as a video game plugged into the social consciousness of contemporary California. The viewer/player seemingly makes choices from the menu offering utopian or dystopian realities; however, the score is always the same: the winner loses, and vice-versa. Features Rachel Rosenthal as the host of a macabre interactive game that pushes the boundaries of performance and interactive media.

2003
Vera

Vera is an assisted self-portrait of consumption. The subject is a woman whose passions and compulsions are of spending and loss, taste and subjectivity.

1999
The Vision Engine

Blurred images, glowing like a foggy moon and reminiscent of early television broadcasts, are rhythmically set to a relentless, pulsing soundtrack.

This title is also available on Anthony Discenza Videoworks: Volume 1.

2003
War at a Distance

Since the Gulf War in 1991, warfare and reporting it have become hyper-technological affairs, in which real and computer-generated images cannot be distinguished any more. With the aid of new and also unique archive material, Farocki sketches a picture of the relationship between military strategy and industrial production and shows how war technology finds its way into everyday use.

-- International Film Festival catalogue, Rotterdam (2004)

1981
Watching the Press, Reading the Media

“Reading various popular magazines through the camera, the dominance of advertising over content becomes apparent as the same cigarette ads are consistently legible, while the various articles become a blur. A quick scan with no pause for reflection is the only reading possible of the rapidly turning pages. Muntadas asks whether magazines might be manufactured to be read as passively as television, questioning the consequences of active, or critical, viewing.”

— Mark Mendel, Muntadas: Media Landscapes (Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 1982)

2002
World's Fair World

In 1939, Westinghouse made a film about a small-town family visiting the New York World's Fair. Trapped inside that film was a completely different film that shows a mysterious alternate universe, revealed by Bryan Boyce’s own patented brand of narrative deconstruction and evisceration.The outcome is an absurd and chilling drama of a family transfixed by the technological wonders that would soon transform consumer society.