Tag Archives: Consumerism

Photographer #421: Luo Dan

Luo Dan, 1968, China, is a documentary photographer based in Chengdu. He graduated from the Sichuan Fine Art Institute in 1992. He works as a freelance photographer after having been employed as a photojournalist between 1997 and 2005. For his latest series Simple Song he traveled to the mountains of the Yunnan province. Using the collodion wet plate process he captured the people of this region where the way of life has remained intact for hundreds of years. His series North, South is the result of extensive travelling throughout China. The large body of work raises questions about the large economic changes in China. On various levels the images show the effects on the Chinese population, from the new wealth, consumerism to extreme poverty. Two years earlier he also traveled across China for his series China Route 318. All three projects have been released as monographs. His work has been exhibited extensively, mainly in China. The following images come from the series Simple Song, North, South and China Route 318.

Website: www.luodanphoto.com

MoCP in the News: Press for Our Origins

“Where do we, as humans, come from?” With such a broad question at the heart of Our Origins, it’s no wonder the exhibition has gotten people talking. From art critics to bloggers, take a look at what people are saying about Our Origins, which is on display at the MoCP through October 16:

Jennifer Ray, Strangler Fig Embrace, 2009; Courtesy of the artist

“Inspired by everything from fossils to x-ray diffusion, this ambitious group show considers the unanswerable questions — all from a very self-conscious, often very funny point of view.” – Flavor Pill Chicago

“The chatter about where we come from seems inescapable. Which is what makes the relative silence of Our Origins refreshing.” – Chicago Reader

“Plenty of thought-provoking works on view.” – Time Out Chicago

“[Our Origins] reflects on natural history from a distinctly human point of view.” – The Beacon-News

“For all the wit, wisdom and insight here, Alison Ruttan steals the show… [While she] may not have revealed the mysteries of being; she has effectively portrayed us as too close to other primates for comfort, evoking a mixture of humor, absurdity, depression, truth and self-recognition.” – Newcity Art

In addition to the show, curator Allison Grant also gets a little love:

“It’s refreshing to see a curator take aim at the largest human questions, and it’s good for Grant’s first exhibition ever. I admire that ambition and hope Grant will continue probing those deep questions, since for as many artists as there are investigating consumerism and commodity culture, there are just as many examining the hard philosophical and scientific question” – Art Slant

– Bags of consumerism

Upon leaving the Pixar animated movie, Wall-E, my girlfriend’s nine year-old cousin and I were each given a rubber wrist watch featuring a picture of the adorable robot left behind on the ruined planet Earth to sort out the mess. This prompted my cousin to comment on the irony of distributing cheap, plastic wares to promote a film which so obviously encouraged viewers to break free from the chains of consumerism.

Well, OK, so Tyler’s actual words were: “Why’d they give us a watch? They should have given us a plant or something,” and then, “Can we go to Burger King and get a toy?” Maybe he missed the finer points of the robot movie, but his comment made me think about the role that popular media is playing in influencing our nation’s recent conservation efforts.

It seems that everyone is jumping on the soy-bean fueled, solar-powered bandwagon and realizing that we have literally run out of space to pile our trash. But far from flinging off all worldly possessions, we have instead culturally embraced environmentalism and coupled it with fashion and style. This should surely make any artist delighted, as new forms of artistic expression are cropping up everywhere: commercials, billboards, and even shopping bags.

In case you missed the memo, it is no longer enough to merely bring a cloth bag to the grocery store to avoid using petroleum-based bags of doom; now every store seems to carry their own line of eco-bags. Some are printed plainly with the name of the store. Others, like Target, offer convenient zipper pouches and an assortment of bag sizes. And still others, like Whole Foods Market, have taken the next step in unifying the arts, consumerism and conservation by offering a wide variety of designer grocery bags to match any personality, or as I like to call it, “the Degree of Green.”

A true granola-loving green freak will love the hemp line, while the hipsters among us might go for the drawing of a thin, pale blue bird sitting sadly in the branches of a struggling tree. (Wait, would that appeal to hipsters or emo-teens?) And if you are truly inspired, you’ll bring along a canvas tote that you’ve designed yourself with iron-on words arranged in haiku and transferable photos of the mountains you’ve climbed.

It’s about time the United States cleans up its act and actively asserts itself as the most eco-friendly, green guys around. The green movement certainly wouldn’t have caught on without some gritty grassroots publicity. That’s what the fashion and design industry have succeeded at thus far. And if that ultimately means youngsters will carry around few more reusable shopping bags featuring polar bears, that’s even better.