The inability to quantify the indefensible (some things you know others you don't)
The first piece in what would later become a series: The inability to quantify the indefensible was initially titled "Some things you know others you don't" and is a diagrammatic piece outlining the personal involvement and complicity of, particularly western individuals in the system of international Neoliberal consumer capitalism. The composition of this piece was taken from the Afghanistan War Diagram, designed to illustrate the multifaceted nature of conflict. I used its infographic language and its incomprehensible outcome as an apt metaphor for the way in which we have allowed the expansion of capitalisms boundaries to envelop all aspects of social interaction. Despite not understanding that by doing so, we have affected more of our society and environment negatively through exposing it to the profit motive and capitalisms basic principle of quantification through reduction.
The main focus of this piece was root the viewer in the discourse, doing so by including familiar themes such as sport, music, television and brands such as Facebook, Apple, KFC Asos and Uber. However, by connecting these modern elements of society with the historical events that allowed their fruition the piece takes on the role of a sort of historical conspectus. An overview of the entanglement of concepts and moments aligned so as to create the present framework of capitalism that we are familiar with. The attempt to deploy a kind of nudge theory, utilising Sergei Eisenstein's Intellectual Montage theory, which states that by placing two disparate images together you can create a third image in the mind of the viewer. Therefore, affecting the viewers ease at exploiting the brutal inequality of the dispersion of labour to make cheap textiles, or the decimation of the environment through the consumption of food grown in biodiverse areas, such as the Amazon Rainforest. As well as using proximity, many of the images are connected by colour coded lines. Once again using capitalisms own language of reduction and simplification to highlight its own myriad of horrors. The arrows break this simultaneous timeline into Money, Power, Effect and Connection, showing for example the correlation between colonialism and modern exploitation.
Following the completion of The inability to quantify the indefensible I began work on another piece that would once again utilises the language of reduction, so frequently employed by capitalism. Highlighting links between the morality and ethics of judeo-christian, colonialist, capitalism and its effects on the structures of power in our society. Using triangles to establish the hierarchy affecting the subjects of the piece, circles to contain various elements of British society on the left side, as well as concepts and their consequences on the right side, and arrows to illustrate the flow of money on the left side and the links between thought and action on the right side. The piece becomes a flow chart of action and consequence that creates a fabric of relationships. The right side represents the physical, the figures at the bottom represent the financial 99% the semicircle that arcs above them their proportion of the population. At the summit of the triangle that contains them is the 1% their semi circle is representative of their capital accumulation. An attempt to highlight the inequality of the division of capital in our societies. For the row of people at the bottom I attempted to provide a wide a cross section of Britain as expressible in 8 figures divided equally by gender I also used young, old and multiethnic figures from British society, from Sophie Duker, to Captain Tom, from Baroness Warsi to a young Keira Knightly. The arrows that move away from this group show the transition of money through expenditure, divided between spending on goods and investment in services. Companies from which goods are procured are divided into two categories: those that provide and those that exploit. Those that provide are those that are organised along socialist principles of equitable economics, manifested through good wages, fair prices and regulated competition. Creating a stable market that employs and contributes to government funding of social services through taxation. The other far more successful section of business is comprised of parasitic companies those built on the autocratic principles of exploitation authority and success in competition at the detriment of the workforce and the customer. They pay no Tax and therefore exploit the population, providing poor quality goods that are only made cheaper through the exploitation of the producers and the workforce creating social problems such as climate damage, underfunding of key social sectors and the traumatising of a dominated working class. They are represented by the logos of particular perpetrators of these crimes such as Amazon and Uber and above them the CEO Jeffery Bezos is crowned as the rightful heir to a legacy of colonist violators.
The second, right hand side of this piece, focusses on the metaphysical. The concepts that are implicit within the events of our age. From faith and its importance in the acceptance of set values, to reduction, required by economists to work out these values. Reducing the affordances of an object or subject, to an exploitable commodity from sugar, to slaves. Other key features of this part of the piece include: Dispersion, Profitability, Organised Religion and Patriarchy, as well as their consequences: Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, War, Genocide and Climate change. I attempted to use familiar references so as to ground the concepts within the lives of the viewers. Dispersion shows the labels of clothing available on the high street, the "made in" preface followed by a selection of South Asian nations, highlighting the way in which Neoliberal capitalism has continued the practises of colonialism. Seeking to destroy the fraternity of the working classes through division of class, country or race. Reduction, a theme at the route of capitalism is depicted here through the use of the newest lingua franca, the emoji. A dictionary of what is deemed important by the Global North, all the while identifying the necessity of simplification for understanding and subsequent consumption of a product. Thus the beauty and complexity of nature can be expressed as: "a tree", like all the others. Avoidance of didactics in this piece and all the others in this series, is achieved through the lack of effort in attaining any kind of completion in the mapping of the world. There is conclusion and therefore no attempt to suggest an infallibility on the part of the author. The piece merely presents factors thought to be important their connections illustrated, allowing for an empirical reading of what is contained here.
Economics of Time
The final piece in this series though not known to be at the time, became the conclusion due to the success of its composition. Moving away from the rigidity of composition required by the diagram, this time the diagram and the images that illustrate its subject are separated. Showing the distance between the quantifiable and things deemed to be important through human history, often because of our own inability to contend their complexity. The images are arranged according to Sergei Eisenstein's Intellectual Montage Theory, whereby, through the combination of two distinct images a third is created in the mind of the viewer. This was fundamental to the positioning of every image in this piece. The collective attempts to create an understanding of the changing nature of reverence by man through time. The piece shows the assent of man from worshiper, to worshiped the concept is depicted through use of the cave paintings of Northern Spain which depict Bison as near deity due to their life giving capability. Then the inclusion of the first ever bank note, acknowledging mans transition to creator of metaphysical concepts. Man's concept of nation and ability to incarnate it in the form of a flag is shown, collaged on as the subject is known to me and therefore draws this relationship with this idea closer. Contiguous themes are also included, man's desire to enhance his own ability, through the creation of technologies and the non-neutrality of these technologies is shown through the drone in juxtaposition to the native people of North America, the new "Indian" represented by the cartoon of Bin Laden even described as Geronimo in the mission that killed him. The value of life is assessed in contrast to those that value others existence in the top right hand corner of this piece. The logos of companies Amazon, Microsoft, Tesla, HSBC and J.P Morgan Chase are layered over an image from a news story describing the catastrophic wildfires in Turkey. In the Photo a young child represents future generations, starring confused at the chaos created by the climatic disaster perpetuated by companies such as those represented by the logos surrounding him.
The complexity of the depiction of these different figures pertains to man's relationship with power, how man attempts to master everything around him, even time. This is the explanation of the graph in the middle of this piece, primarily inspired by Marxist dissection of production's relationship to money. It is presented in a sort of "Taylorist" style. The idea behind it being to present the way in which money is created, not by the small minority of those that have it, but by those whose time is spent on production. The two are indistinguishably linked as the old adage goes:"time is money". The relationship between time and money also shows value in our society. Those that are valued least have the cheapest time, those that have the most money have in a way accrued time, they have infinity to do nothing this indication is the explanation for the separation of money and wealth as one seems to transcend time where the other is a physical entity. This wealthy class also have money to distribute selectively due to their position above our "democracy". Attempting to attain this money and by doing so supporting the system by which it can be amassed with only minor distribution, are the elements of Government, Justice and celebrity. These institutions highlight the injustice of our unequal society, protecting those with vast wealth deeming their nature of theft not only acceptable but also something to aspire to. In reward for doing so they are allowed to claim their 30 pieces of silver. The worker however, also has a part to play for without his time there can be no production and without production, no commodity to capitalise on. This graph then, the diagramatic equivalent to Marx's call to arms.