Money & Art (GE1127 CityU)


/// The Surface of My Eye Is deeper Than The Ocean
2K Cinemascope on Blue Ray , 14”, Sound, 2011
Every day in Europe sixteen million Euros are spent on lottery and prize games, the GDP of a small nation. The sudden expansion of lotteries and prize games has taken it’s toll on Italy more than any other country in Europe. This has fueled the establishment of a new empire based on symbols and images related to the imagi- nary of success: Win for Life - Make me Rich - Supermillionaire - Tourists forever - the Pharaoh’s Treasure - A lot of money - The loot - Treasure Island, and so on are just some of the names of the well-known instant lottery tickets, which are not intended only for the purpose of huge amounts of cash available in the long-term, but often relate to a ‘binge’ of monthly cash immediately available for spending, a sort of one-way ticket to transform the citizen into a pure and perfect consumer.
What this specific “subculture” represents is a society where the imbalance in a scale of values is clearly visible: spectacularization of ordinary life, appreciation of personal cultural failure, praise of mediocrity were brought to the fore by the media, giving a vision, albeit limited and ironically idealized, of the peripheral aspects of our culture. Material illusions become needs and idealization of symbols associated with consumption and success have created a massive gap between reality and the “televised reality” that has been imposed. Nowadays our culture is saturated with images of prizes, contests, tons of money, gold coins, goods and other tangible assets as well as the most recent standardization of luxury through ancient concepts such as “Opulence”, has created in it’s normalization a schizophrenic pursuit of an imaginary symbolism not far from the emulation of a soap opera. But to talk of crisis and failure is actually to talk about success and goals, and inverting this reflection, this reasoning also leads to a scenario based on a widespread inability to imagine. The imagination, the ability to project ourselves into the construction of a different future is the true factor in the creation of a cultural identity in the making, constructed and projected towards change.
In the video work hopes, dreams, illusions are perceivable in movements and in looks of the players, at first ho- peful, then anxious, finally disillusioned and looking for the next ticket to scratch. The unconcealable personal emotions of each individual compose a panorama of collective schizophrenia, where each player is only truly concerned with their object of desire: affluence. The thin silver layer present on every ticket can be seen as the separation between the ‘imperfect’ present and the possibility of a ‘perfect’ future, thus it must be eliminated, obsessively.
Notes :
Ninety percent of this project’s production budget was spent on buying roughly 600 scratch-off tickets, distributed then to seven different people, all randomly selected from local Lotto shops. I asked them to be part of the project, offering all of them a contract of redistribution of any eventual profits between them and the rest of the staff. Including all participants in the project -- production assistants, studio owners, etc – after four hours of scratching we won roughly thirty Euros each.

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