Tuesday, April 18, 2006

New on the Market

I was thinking about "FEAR" Has it now replaced ethnic identity as a new political (even national) commodity? In its current 10 oz. packets, it can easily be distributed for consumption.

from my note book:
“Available at all leading stores!”

A collaboration with curator Andrea Fatona from “Reading the image: Poetics of the Black Diaspora” currently touring Canada.

Curator, Andrea Fatona calls from Toronto…she has seen another of my graphic works on my blog site. In this work, I am speculating about “fear “ as a new political commodity. People in Trinidad are supposed to be living in fear so we need a new government or new security measures to save us. They also say we need a renewal of moral and religious values! I keep asking myself – like the Nation who is selling this and why?
As usual someone told me that the work looked foreign and that that there was nothing distinctively Trinidadian about it…they said it looked generic.

The way I see it, these local concerns place me in a larger less anxious and competitive domain in which a kind of empathy can take shape between myself and others in other countries and cultures who are facing similar challenges and manipulations in the fast expanding global economy and social order. Maybe on islands people look inward and outward simultaneously.

So the curator and I begin to collaborate. We are imagining how this work will fit in to or shape her idea and if she can take the responsibility to make aesthetic choices in the implementation and placement of the work in the space and context. I decided that a simple rubber stamp made at an office store would do. This means that people entering the exhibition could make the stamp themselves on the little cardboard boxes.

To me this is exciting. It occurred to me that this is a collaboration not just between myself and the person that enters the show and gets to stamp the fear label on a box and take it home but also with Andrea. She gets to actually choose the boxes and order the stamp and have a say in how it will work. The work enables a number participants and I am more of an instigator than a sole maker “artist-man” in the old fashion sense.

In the early 90’s the term “ marketable historical injury “ kept coming up in my speculations about the use of identity. It was my final departure ( hopefully / optimistically ) from the territorial prospects ( but designations ) of multicultural politics and particularly now the reductivist political commodification of self and sensibility within local electoral politics and the lucrative postures of newspaper columnists. The seed of further distrust and by extension the marketability of fear and insecurity were coming on stream.