25 August - 11 September 2010
Kristin McIver is a visual artist whose work is a study of desire, aspiration and consumerism in the 21st Century. Through her works, the artist explores the aspirational impulses of the middle class, and highlights the way that fundamental human needs are transformed into desirable commodities by self serving global corporations.
Divine intervention proposes that the media and digital age have created a perpetual desiring machine, resulting in a global culture obsessed with material consumption. As Corporations expand their markets into remote corners of the globe, they exploit countries desperately trying to buy into the capitalist dream. Our natural habitats are destroyed in order to make way for newer, better environments; seemingly an improvement on that provided by nature.
In an attempt to satiate our burgeoning desires, “utopian” cities are being realised in defiance of their natural environment. Around the globe, cities such as Dubai have evolved before our eyes as spectacular, extraordinary, utopian visions that propose a better future – seducing the western world into an unsustainable capitalist fantasy. As Boris Groys stated, “Globalisation has replaced the future as the site of utopia”[i].
The recent financial boom (and subsequent bust) of the previous decade saw aspirational marketing reach new and sophisticated levels, encouraging a resurgence of luxury goods and countless upwardly focused lifestyle choices. Inspirited consumers were encouraged to spend (and borrow) beyond their means in a relentless pursuit of a “better life”. This culture of aspiration has resulted in a mindset where more is never enough. Banality is a sin, and dreams can be purchased.
Through its formal construction and materials, Divine intervention evokes the false propositions promised by futuristic developments, and their glossy promotional material. The work borrows a phrase taken directly from a marketing campaign, emblazoning it in neon to seduce the viewer, while exposing the irony and falsity of the message. The absurd proposal “Life unlimited” promises the impossible; the gift of immortality pursued previously only through religious and spiritual refuge. Has desire replaced religion to become the salvation of the 21st century?
Through Divine Intervention, McIver proposes that obsession, desire, aspiration – and their perpetuity through exploitation – may eventually be the catalysts which turn capitalism on itself. Our planet cannot possibly sustain such a relentless, insatiable desire; our environment, our spirituality, our future, will suffer. The human race is no longer living as a part of our natural environment; our insatiable desire is perpetuating our urge to control nature itself, and assume the role of creator.
Kristin McIver - 2010
[i] Boris Groys, Art Power, Cambridge, MIT Press, c 2008.