Friday, December 21, 2012

Artifact or Fiction?

“Fabricated” souvenirs by Bay Area artists
Last chance to see “As Real As it Gets,” an exhibit organized by consumption connoisseur, Rob Walker that looks at the history of consumer fictions. It’s at Apexart in Tribeca and closes December 22.

The show features fictitious products, made-up brands, and subversive real-world behaviors relating to consumerism. Along with Shawn Wolf’s "Removerinstaller," Matt Brown’s “Bathtub Synth" and “shopdropped”(opposite of shoplifted) products, are the made-up brands found in movies about the dystopian future. But alas, the satire itself has been subverted and the dystopian present and future are already here. Dunder Mifflin Paper, the fictional brand of the show The Office is now available for purchase, as is Brawndo, the electrolyte-based water-substitute of Idiocracy (both are represented in the show). 

 The line between fact and fiction has been so effectively blurred, that it’s hard to imagine what the future of consumer satire, as a genre, will be going forward. Clear, “fashion” eyeglasses sit completely straight-faced on shelves alongside corrective lenses. Half of the packaged remedies by Dana Wyse, like “Feel Relaxed in any Situation” or “Discover Your True Purpose in Life,” have counterpart industries in the real world. Our elevated tolerance for fiction-supplanted reality extended all the way to this year’s presidential race when Mitt Romney’s campaign announced "We're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers." For real!

While the golden age of fake products might seem as vintage as a Wacky Pack, our on-demand-anything-is-possible-DIY-24/7 technology has perhaps introduced a slightly more insidious twist.  Somehow, the realness of the Steve Jobs Novena Prayer Candle and the plastic jars of bubbles, had me scanning my mental gift list. I know I could have crossed off a bunch of names with them, and I was slightly disappointed to learn that they were not for sale. So take a break from reality Christmas shopping and head over to “As Real As it Gets.”

Matt Brown’s “Bathtub Synth" 

Shawn Wolf's "Removerinstaller"

From Dana Wyse's "Jesus Had a Sister Productions"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails