Death by Consumption
- Artist's Statement
We live in a society that is structured around consumerism; John Berger noted in 1972 that in our cities, “all of us see hundreds of publicity images every day of our lives” (1). Nearly forty years later the imagery of advertising bombards us wherever we are, encouraging us to consume more.
Cheap mass produced goods have led to a throw-away society. UK households produce 30 million tonnes of waste each year, 73% of which goes into landfill (2). Environmental groups have questioned the sustainability of these excesses.
'Death by consumption' was the leading cause of death in the 18th and 19th Centuries(3), where victims suffered a lingering death after months of torture as their lung tissue was destroyed(4). Could it be that squandered resources and excessive waste will lead to modern society choking to death on its own version of consumption?
With this series I aim to provoke thought and discussion about the link between what people buy and what they dispose of. Advertising offers us so many choices, perhaps, sometimes, choosing not to buy, might be best for our survival.
1.Berger, Ways of Seeing, p.123, Penguin 1972
2.Eurostat (European Commission). www.pp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu
3."tuberculosis." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web. 11 Feb. 2011.
4.JR Black MD, Popular Science Monthly, August 1879