MOVING IMAGE EXCERPTS (click on ten still images to enlarge and scroll through)
1. Burnt Stars. Gallery walkthrough of multi-screen installation.
2. The hitchhiker’s guide to the Symbiocene. Video artwork.
3. Solastalgia. Documentation of performance at a multi-screen train carriage, Clandulla.
4. Tied, Mayday 2006. Documentation of performance on a multi-screen boat, the Tribal Warrior, Farm Cove Sydney.
The new tapestry COMMONSENSING will respond to the work Bayeux Capitalism: A Portrait of Edward Bernays.
Work’s teletext strip: 1897 Irish potato genocide. 1910 Hailey’s Comet. 1914 Freud’s libidinal economy. 1929 His nephew Edward Bernays, father of public relations USA, sells women cigarettes ‘torches of freedom’. 1939 ‘Progress’. 1939 Goebbels uses Bernays’ ‘Crystallizing Public Opinion’.1945 Bernays’ peacetime influence. 1945 $US diplomacy. 1959 Bernays, CIA & United Fruit oust Guatemalan president. 1965 Freud’s daughter Anna rolls out USA super-ego programs. 1960s Freedom to desire & brand choices. Lifestyle research replaces policy. 1970s Banks support speculation not production. 1980s 3rd world labour. 1985 Hailey’s Comet. 1990s Swing-voter lifestyle focus groups. 2011 Housing market up 8000% from mid-50s. Burson-Marsteller’s energy poverty campaign. ‘We use what Bernays identified’.
The tapestry draws from The Century of the Self (2002), presented by British journalist and filmmaker, Adam Curtis, who examines the life of Edward Bernays. The tapestry presents specific influences that Bernays created on behalf of governments and corporations. Bernays invented public relations in America by applying his Uncle Sigmund Freud’s ideas for mass control.
These influences were turning points in the use of control of the ways in which Americans related to commodification, modern consumerism and representative democracy. These shifts have followed since in Australia. As a result of the way the tapestry work clearly articulates the influences that have caused these changes, it creates access points from which individuals and groups can rethink these relationships.
People were trained to desire and want new things even before the old had been consumed, and so Bernays and then later a whole advertising industry manipulated consumer behaviour in the interests of manufacturers.
The predominantly European and American story presented in the tapestry is book-ended at the beginning by a specific event that has shaped the way that Australia has approached policy in relation to the commons and the enclosure. The Irish Potato Famine Genocide of 1845 involved the government prioritising social policy as an epiphenomenon of the economy. The tapestry’s story shows how the stage has been reached where a version of the Irish Potato Genocide is now being implemented on our general population with consent.
The work ends with Burson-Marsteller’s Energy Poverty campaign. Burson quotes that their company continues to implement what Bernays identified decades earlier.