The sum of things : an exegesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the postgraduate degree of Master of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand
Open Access Location
Consumption as witnessed under advanced capitalism is seemingly insatiable. Consumer desire, coupled with a burgeoning world population and increasing demands on ever scarcer resources heralds dark days ahead. What compels us to consume at such a tireless rate? This thesis seeks to unpack contemporary consumer culture, citing key thinkers and artists on the subject in order to shed light on the phenomenon. Referencing Guy Debord’s incendiary critique of the Spectacle, and its ongoing influence over public conciousness, photography is discussed as a potential tool for consumption related critique. However, photographs are entrenched in the consumer realm, illustrating commodities and perpetuating spectacular culture. This thesis explores the ramifications of this convoluted relationship, examining various strategies for overcoming the baggage of the spectacle, including: detournement, ambiguity, banality, and the poetic.
Thomas McQuillan, Artistic photography, Consumption, Consumerism