Born To Shop (2017)

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John Webb: Born To Shop (2017) 2.5m x 2.0m

Born To Shop (2017)
2.5m x 2.0 m

Image details:

John Webb: Born To Shop (2017) Detail

John Webb: Born To Shop (2017) Detail

John Webb: Born To Shop (2017) Detail

Born To Shop (2017)
(Detail 1) 
Born To Shop (2017)
(Detail 2) 
Born To Shop (2017)
(Detail 3) 

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This work:

The words on this work read:

"Archimedes said: 'Give me a place to stand and I will move the world.'

Today he would point to our electronic media and say: 'I will stand on your ears, your nerves, and your brain, and the world will move in any tempo or pattern I choose.'

We have leased these places to stand to private corporations."

'Places to stand' in this context could be read as what NZ Maori call turangawaewae - a rare reference to Webb's own country of origin.

Australian context:

While the ghosts of maps and landscapes lurk under the surface of this work, it is unusual for Webb in its overt political (or philosophic) content. One might need to go back to his Forty Per Cent (2010) to find such blatant comment, but even there the commentary was only overt in the name of the work, and more subtle in the imagery.

Coming as it does, though, on the heels of a "pastoral" work - Australian Pastorale (2017) - littered with toxic chemical drums, such commentary is not surprising.

There is also more subtle comment in his use of "web icons" in a Webb series paying homage to the environmental and cultural icons of the Australian landscape. Perhaps there is more here than meets the eye, even as he comments on the way that eye has been deceived by corporate propaganda.

While the lipsticked, Marilyn Monroe-ish mouths might refer to desire directed at consumer constructs, or endless chat and programmed responses, they might also remind us of the need for nourishment as a real world process, one not fed by the plethora of "stuff" produced in virtual space. Eyes remind us that we can see beyond the icons, while the reversed dollar signs speak of hidden (and corrupt?) corporate purposes.


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Image: Flaticon
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