By Leonard Kai Fung So (fine arts/theory, Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University), Marco Spitzbarth (fine arts/digital art, Zurich University of the Arts) and Ingjerd Ytterdal Holten (fine arts/painting, Academy of Visual Arts, Hong Kong Baptist University).
Wishes are priceless and we pay them off with our disappointments, this abyss of desire drags us to the bottom, waiting for fulfilment to drop from heaven but only realising that this fulfilment is empty. We as a group of victims are running hopelessly but overjoyed, around this system forest of commodity, feeding the hungry merchant Lucifer under the eyes of greedy God, associated with the luring angles of advertisements. We pray and become the prey.
Consumerism have religious characteristics. People’s behaviour has changed; instead of going to churches we now go to malls or shop online. Our glorification of consumer goods can be compared with previous worshipping of iconographies. Recurring shopping teaches us to adopt certain rituals as constructing a wish list, ordering and accepting terms and conditions. In a hidden backdrop of our Temple of Consumerism lies the logistics of never ending production and delivery. Immerse yourself in the unspoken rituals of digital praying in the temple. We collect your wishful data until you repeat the procedure in your next ceremonial act. You are now in our system and your habits and data is valuable to us.
Characterization of our process: constructive group collaboration, idea sharing and solution orientation. We had fun shopping from Taobao, and ideas developed from doing this. The installation has a touch of irony in replicating a shopping experience online but emphasize on the madness and pointless act of shopping, collecting of personal data and the ethics of labour rights. The installation developed on-site, inspired by the aura and the architecture of the space. I consider this a successful group project with a potential to expand, tighten or divert to related topics.
MassPrey, a large scale immersive installation critiques the system of consumerism and describes it as a new form of religion that in the end is exploiting the individual. By interacting with the installation you are lured into the system which also aims to bring your mind to the ethics of big companies who are collecting our data from our habits and interests. Big data is big business and feeds on our craving to buy new goods. The driving forces of consumerism has another unspoken side, the underpaid, badly treated factory workers. The ethics and moral of our new religion is questionable, we hope our imaginable Temple of Mass Prey and Consumerism will inspire you to think twice next time you buy something.