400%: mixed media installation, 2011
4 March – 1 April, 2011
Scale Matters an essay edition by David Buuck.
ampersand international arts, San Francisco
400% is a sculpture series based on the novelty of individualized everyday commodities that remedy certain needs; sex, fatigue, illness, pain, and other bodily functions. These small objects that provide instant gratification and/or resolution which leave residual material artifacts; giving context to a secret narrative of a stranger’s life discarded into our communal detritus; on the street, on car floors, under the crush of the contents of our personal carry alls, and in our pockets. We discover our desires, our pain, and needs by these seemingly insignificant disposal commodities by accidental or intentional investigations of the environments we occupy. Some products have a worldwide household identity: for example Hershey is synonymous with chocolate, if not a low quality chocolate. Carried by American troops in World War II and given to indigenous populations while liberating cities, the brand lore has been a powerful impression in the collective consciousness of diverse consumer culture. All these products carry the weight of branding, sometimes even international branding; a lifestyle sold to us in our everyday lives so much so that we internalize and spread its message.
"There is one memory that I have while being in the Philippines as a child, we received a box of gifts, called a Balakbayan box, overflowing with American candy, clothes, and American toys sent over by parents we loosely remembered. This emotional attachment to material goods to fill the voids in our lives is what I indeed investigate. Through photographic imaging technology used nonchalantly in commerce I destroy the intended glamour of brand logos and packaging; robbing the packaging of color and clarity, and scale is of no concern. All is hollow and shallow. My hybridity is a constant negotiation of brand loyalty regulated by my desires and needs, and I dare you to remember the brands that you’ve grown up with." —CT