Images work

The scene: an office complex designed to look like a squatted warehouse. A table surrounded by figures. It could be any time of the day or night. It could be a party. It could be work.

FIG. ONE:To what extent do our gestures in visual culture get watered down, recuperated and sold back to us?

FIG. TWO:Can this be avoided?

FIG THREE: How can we say something that no-one else has already said, that cant be ripped off?

FIG. TWO:I feel sorry for those unoriginal people. How can we keep the cash and the credit?

FIG. ONE: Watch me now. (As he checks his colleagues expressions to see if they thought he sounded too affectedly early D n B ,

FIG. ONE flips on a monitor.

They watch the feed from a surveillance camera in the corner of a flat. A toddler watches television with his family. On the TV in the corner of the room, a close-up of couple kissing for around thirty seconds. Before the scene is over the boy has walked over and kissed his parents. He means it. It looks like a complete mind-meld. The edit comes to an end and returns to a screen saver of cutting-edge club-visuals). You see that? The brat didnt give tongues at the right moment! What a failure. Its the same problem everywhere. Whether youre some looser trying to start some revolution off down the photocopy shop or trying to flog these jeans. As a leading media/art/design agency specialising in bespoke post-rave cultural experiences we merely have the advantages of circulation and repetition.

FIG.THREE: A way to make a living commensurate with our needs and desires.

FIG. TWO: and a chance to really express yourself at the same time. Weve got integrity on our side. Remember that old bloke we used for copy-writing that car thing? He went on to be a slave trader after he finished pissing about. He knew the score. Disappeared off the poetry circuit altogether. Pure action.

FIG. ONE: Total Kung Fu event horizon.

FIG. THREE: We intervene graphically into the corporate culture to undermine its dominant position. To make it more playful. More receptive. Loose those inhibitions.

FIG. TWO: Corporations are people too. Legally. As populations get more media-savvy, exposing the methods of the media as commodity gives both audience groups and clients a good laugh - and the chance to go to another level.

FIG. THREE: so that t-shirt youve got on. Is it the real thing, a cheap copy, an ironic bootleg appropriation of the brand, or a post-bootleg appropriation of actual brand commodity as thing in itself transcended into the realm of pure image whilst maintaining materiality?

FIG.TWO: Depends whos asking. Context sensitive yet universal. You know the score.

FIG.ONE: Check this: all totalitarian art attempts to affect an immediate transfer of meaning. Seeing is not just believing but being. It didnt work. Only born-again Christians from Middle America go for the hard stuff nowadays not Europeans brought-up in a post- enlightenment culture of pleasure-seeking enquiry. Contemporary advertising, contemporary culture We know we cant just say, Go for the dictator with the moustache shaped like a banana. Were part of a generational insurgency against all that. We want to create the interactive basis for peoples entire frame of reference, not just sell them a line.

FIG. THREE: Young people have got nothing to believe in nowadays.

FIG. TWO: Yeah. Take football. It used to be solid. But you go up The Arse or Chelsea nowadays and look at the state of it. Media Scum. Everywhere. Networking. FIG. THREE: They should be keepin it real.

FIG. ONE: Talking of Yanks though, thats a real one. The Stars and Stripes. Theyve got laws preventing anyone messing with the flag. Theres regulations on who can use it and how. Laws on how to actually fold it. And on top of that. To top that, (FIG. ONE thumps table.) every school-kid has to pledge allegiance to it every morning.

FIG.TWO: Some fucking branding.

FIG. THREE: Indeed.

FIG. TWO: And yet, it still gets burned. Around the world of course - we know it. But even on the streets of America! Its out of control. Youve got to be more subtle.

FIG ONE: Or more specific. (FIG. ONE slides large cardboard envelope onto table). Did I show you these x-rays I got back from the hospital? Fuck. If anything proves it, they do. We live in a world of social relations mediated by images. Ive got brain cancer.

FIG. TWO: Shit. There is no image that cannot be subverted.

FIG ONE: They hold us in check with their science of imagery.

FIG. THREE: So whos getting your job?

Matthew Fuller


This text was produced for a project on political image making by Cactus Network.Po Box 587, London, SW2 4HA.