As we approach the fortieth anniversary of May ‘68 here is a relevant juxtaposition of image and text, a quotation from Sadie Plant’s The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age: “A staggering abundance of commodity choices is offered, and identification is demanded not with a single commodity but the commodity system itself: it is the spectacle as a whole which is advertised and desired. The lights, the opportunities, the shops, the excitement: the attraction of capitalist societies has always been their glamorous dynamism, the surfeit of commodities and the ubiquity of choice they offer. But in practice, anything can be chosen except the realm in which choice is possible. One can choose to be, think, and do anything, but as the roles, ideas, and lifestyles possible within capitalist society are allowed to appear only to the extent that they appear as commodities, the equivalence and homogeneity of commodities is inescapable in the most private aspects of life. The shops always carry everything except the thing one really wants; they are ‘full of things’.” (Plant 1992: 24). Andreas Gursky’s photographs average $100,000 a piece.
Illustration: Andreas Gursky, 99 Cent, 1999 C-print mounted on Plexiglas in artist’s frame, 81 1/2 x 132 5/8 inches
Video clip: Ikea sequence from Fight Club, 1999, dir. David Fincher, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk.
Quotation: Plant, Sadie. 1992. The Most Radical Gesture: The Situationist International in a Postmodern Age. London/New York: Routledge.