Shopping for Love

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Postopia: Visions of Utopia, Dystopia and something called Postopia

This shared exhibition required every artist to make work that responded to ideas of how technology might propel the human story. Each technological discovery opens new possibilities that change the way we live. Every invention better than the last, forever altering the course of the future. But where do we go from here? As society finds itself at new crossroads, from climate change to sociopolitical upheavals, have we reached a point of no return? Are we heading towards self-actualisation? Self-destruction? Or something else?

Mrs Cucumber
Mr Cockroach
White child

Concept

Shopping for Love was based on ideas of a Kafkanian abdication of responsibility to technology. We become without useful hands and therefore useless. We become faceless and devoid of human contact and meaning. But might we be happy and content to abdicate much of our responsibility regardless of the loss of self. More of my thinking on this was published by the UAL newsletter.

 
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Development

I discovered four mannequins at the local tip and thought they might make an interesting future family. I have referenced Kafka’s The Metamorphosis (1915) as well as The Sparrow (1997) by Mary Doria Russell. Both tell stories of the balance of power and both use symbolism to indicate an abdication of responsibility in which the loss of hands is related to a catastrophic change in status. Both stories tell of how our love for those with whom we connect can destroy us.

Installation

The intention was always to make a film using these mannequins as props. However, they took a life of their own and were included in both the Postopia/Ugly Duck exhibition and also the Wimbledon College of Art foyer exhibition. In both cases I installed the mannequins in relation to windows, referencing the idea of shop windows and the looking of a viewer juxtaposed against the non-looking of the mannequins.

 

Warning: this film contains strobe-like lighting

Filming

Filming took place in a white-out studio and followed a stop-animation type format. The film is intended to reference ideas of a fun commercial, asking the viewer to question if this future could be positive or negative, indeed, a utopia or dystopia.

The soundtrack references ideas from Frankl, Brown and Asimov all of whom write on human connectivity and responsibility.

 
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Project Management

I sourced the “Ugly Duck” venue for this expedition and initiated a positive first contact and put together a project team. I helped edit the proposal and also carried out some limited public relations tasks.

In terms of project team I felt it was necessary to create a diverse and committed team of “do-ers”. I ensured that our initial contact was appropriate to the venue holders and that we suited their requirements. This positive start ensured a positive outcome to the official proposal submission.

This project also saw the formal creation of the Uncovered Collective.