December 11, 2003
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ATHICA installation ‘All day and All night’ wallows in consumerism
Shop till you drop
By Melissa Link
As masses head out to malls and markets to participate in the hallowed tradition of holiday shopping, art enthusiasts are invited to ATHICA to participate in a conceptual mock shopping spree that demonstrates the pervasiveness of consumerism in contemporary culture.
Artist Kit Hughes originally submitted the concept of the interactive installation ”All day and All night” to be considered for ATHICA’s ”Product: Comments on Consumer Culture” exhibit, which had a successful run at the non-profit gallery earlier this year. Due to the scale and ambition of Hughes’ project, he was offered a solo exhibit to allow for a complete execution of the work.
”All day and All night” features an altar-like display of hundreds of products, all advertised on a single channel within a 24-hour period.
Participants are invited to scan the bar codes to trigger a multimedia series of audio-visual responses that include large-scale projections of edited commercials as well as recordings of hilarious crank calls made to the 1-800 Consumer Information numbers.
Participants are then given a receipt that allows them to ”buy” paintball ammunition to shoot at a blank canvas and aid in the creation of haphazard abstract art.
Hughes, who continues his career as a designer for a high-powered packaging and industrial design firm in Atlanta as he pursues an art degree through the University of Georgia’s digital media program, certainly is well-informed on the powerful alliance between image and impulse fueling contemporary consumerism.
”Graphic design has evolved into this amazing art form, people can’t get enough of it,” says Hughes, who in recent years has undergone somewhat of an epiphany of purpose that clarifies his corporate career as well as his artistic identity.
”I finally found this connection – this is a viable artistic media,” he says.
Yet despite the artist’s personal peace with consumerism, the installation’s inclusion of the blatantly violent act of shooting a gun alludes to an underlying angst.
”At one point in my life, I had negative feelings for capitalism, but I don’t so much anymore,” says the artist. ”I intended this installation to be an unbiased commentary,” he continues, refusing to offer his own interpretation of the rifle-range aspect of the exhibit, instead inviting each individual participant to form his and her own opinions from the experience.