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Don't just THINK about it...  

Political is Personal
an installation work by PleaseWakeMeUp Idler and Sherpa Voyager

A walk-through installation by PleaseWakeMeUp Idler and Sherpa Voyager brings attention to the human side of the Iraq war and some of the motivations that gave rise to it. In one of the rooms faces turn to follow you, and floating texts appear from them with comments.

Detail from the installation. Click it for an expanded view.

The notecard that is dispensed  at several locations in the installation admonishes the viewer to walk through and not to use the camera controls to see what is there.  This is important to the experience, as the interactive effects that occur are scripted to the proximity of your avatar to each element. 

The 1000 prim cube is made of eight sections of 125 prims each.
Click the image for a different and larger view of this room.

Ad Reinhardt meets Thorstein Veblen

More than just propaganda, the installation brings together an unusual mix of art history and economic thought. In a room bearing the inscription "Conspicuous Consumption" on a wall there is a small white object made of 1000 prims. The motto comes from Veblen's 1899 classic, The Theory of the Leisure Class, which also gave rise to such notions as "keeping up with the Joneses."

The cube itself evokes a 3D virtual Ad Reinhardt painting and, whether intentional or not, has a beauty to it that makes one question whether the 1000 prims were indeed wasteful or were in fact well used. At the very least they are used well in illustrating the artists' point. This brings it conceptually close to Reinhardt as well as visually.

Die for Art

In a side room is a sculpture that looks like a cross between a rusty oil drum and a section of oil pipeline. Titled The Price of Oil, you can have it for free. According to the notecard (click the i) all you have to do is die for it. Not your human typist, your Second Life avatar. Make arrangements with the artist to have it delivered to your heir after your death.

Is the suggestion of suicide for art akin to a suicide bomber's belief that death will bring benefits in the afterlife? Or that dying to benefit someone else is a noble act? Or is it that our desire for oil to power our SUV's is suicidal?

There are many possibilities of interpretation, and that makes this a particularly interesting work of art. When the metaphor evoked by a work reverberates within the viewer and applies itself to many facets of life, the phrase used is metaphoric power. This virtual object has it. As a work of conceptual art, the acts required to acquire it raise thought provoking psychological and philosophical questions. 

Does your avatar have a life? Would you end it for art? Can you have your cake and eat it? This well conceived and executed installation may seem didactic to some, naive to others, and dangerous to those who believe that preventing terrorism is the real reason the USA is in Iraq. 

Whatever your persuasion, this is an exhibition you should see. And If you want to know more about the history behind the 21st century, I highly recommend that you read Peter Dale Scott's book, The Road to 9/11.

this exhibition has ended


Screen shot inside the installation. Iraqi faces appear out of the obscuring redness and turn to follow you. 
Floating text appears with each face.
ArtWorld failed to follow the instructions in the notecard, which direct you to
change your preferences and set "Show Names" to "Never."

Another view in the above room.

In this room is a blood red grid that you can get lost in, as the names of US and Iraqi casualties scroll in a chat window.

A 1000 prim cube in the Conspicuous Consumption room is opposite signage that explains its significance.

©2009 Richard Minsky