DeconstructingBuyology:remaking to resist in an age of consumption

DeconstructingBuyology:remaking to resist in an age of consumption

Nov. 11-Dec. 12(09:00-18:00)Closed on Monday

Baitasi Hutong ArtGallery(Gong Men Kou Si Tiao #32, Xinjiekou, Xicheng District,Beijing)

Curator: Li Boyan

Artists: Fu Shuai,Gao Yu, Gao Yuan, Sun Wei, Ye Su, Wang Xuanhe, Wu Wei, Xu Shurui, Yao Qingmei,Yan Lei, Zhang Jing, Zhang Yunfeng, Zhang Yuequn

Images spreadrampantly on the internet, dazzling human eyes during the consumption process,and exert profound influence on consumers’ viewpoints. Advertising, posingitself as simulated reality, announced the beginning of a new art belonging tothe consumption age exclusively. “True to life temptation” makes it possiblefor people to regard internet based sharing as new media, and thereforetrustworthy, which partially explains why private matters of public figurescould be exaggerated, entertained and consumed interminably on the internet.From “Water Gate” to the exposure of the nude photos of Carla Bruni, wife offormer French President Nicolas Sarkozy, from “911” to “MH370” accident, a kindof democracy and freedom manipulated by media has been developing rapidly. Eventhe matter of privacy as a human right falls into a helpless and awkwardsituation.

Yet, the symbol ofpower in the age of economic globalization comes from mass consumption. Thelarge amount of wonders created by the society of spectacle is somethingimpossible to imagine before the age of consumption. In metropolises where itstands a forest of both new and old spectacles, an attitude of moderation andcompatibility is gradually building up: the perspective to examine the home cityas a native and the feelings of outsiders who burst into the city have turnedinto two distinct states of life. In the space of the two’s coexistence,identity has become a shared anxiety in people’s subconscious. Led by economicglobalization, world language has been gradually erasing the splendid cultureswhich are reginal and ethnic. The “creation” in the age of consumption isgradually allegorized, becoming a realistic practice conducted in the “virtual”way tying up everything with consumption. Its “virtuality” lies in its practicebeing assisted by appropriation and re-coding of symbols; its “reality” locatesin the practice’s factual and profound influence on us at the symbolic level.Therefore, to see through the “creation” in the age of consumption, significantdecoding is needed.

Vacuous andrational action was born in the pain of consumption anxiety, which has been itscompany ever since, turning into new forms of uncooperative resistance. TedDave, a Canadian video artist, started a protesting procession “Buy NothingDay” in 1992. On the next day after Thanks-giving, to protest againstconsumerism, people willingly refused to buy things and organized a procession,becoming a special “festival” in the age of consumption. Based on thereflection “what are the things I really need, instead of desiring”, theactivity was widely welcomed. Anti-consumerism encourages the “new poor” toprotest against the society of consumerism in the way of “uncooperativemovement”. Building upon the above understanding, we construct a Playhouse ofPoverty in the rift between individual space and consumption space, to make thepoor more independent and autonomous in the space of their living habits andthe age of consumption, from which they cannot escape, in order to adapt to thenew impact brought by a community’s change in a large city.

From the communityto the spectacle of the city, anti-consumerism actions are directed at therapid urban change. Art as a creation is increasingly turning into regionalaction: on one hand, it resists the homogenization brought by economicglobalization, on the other, it reflects the growing confidence in the nativecultural ecology. Similar to the large quantity of wastes, produced bycontemporary society and waiting to be disposed, “enclaves” exist in the citylike cavities, in urgent need to be filled to gain functional regeneration andrenovation. Whether it is a spare “fortuitous space”, or a white-box area underactive transformation, it injects the desolate community with the motivation tocreate. Community building acquires more positive significance in the trend ofanti-consumerism.

Community provides the platform for art and general public to connectand interact. In the West, independent spaces and artist residential projects,co-built by governments and non-governmental organizations, breathe life intoart which are happening outside galleries, providing spaces for discussion andreflection on current events. In turn, the possibility of art revitalized wouldreciprocate the community. Of course, this is not to advocate to scrapeeverything and start all over again. It depends on continuous efforts made fora significant duration of time and the presentation of specific works of art,to bring new, which is “regenerated”, spectacles.

“Regeneration”offers new opportunities to promote healthy development for communities.Regeneration is also the attitude of both resistance against and solution forover consumption and waste. In the exhibition, food with validation about toexpire, fast food, and wasted cartons would be used as materials forinstallations; readings made by artists about social theatre would bebroadcasted using old televisions; some art works confronts the pressure put onthe city’s environment by consumption; more works reveal the reproduction madeby visual consumption, as well as the anti-consumerism re-creation.


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