from the press release:
In “mona_lisa.jpg”, Stephen Dent explores the cult-like phenomenon of the Mona Lisa through the use of images, text and sound appropriated from a wide range of internet based sources. Leonardo daVinci’s Mona Lisa is perhaps the most recognized art work in history. Is this because she is the greatest painting of all time, or because we as viewers have assigned so much meaning to her? Can she still be viewed as simply a “painting”, or have her mythological proportions overpowered how we look at her? Dent states, “She is the most popular holy relic of Western culture, housed in the Cathedral of Western culture and millions of people make the pilgrimage every year. What is most interesting to me is not the painting itself, but peoples’ response to and interaction with the painting.”
“mona_lisa.jpg” not only investigates how people look at the painting through the hundreds of vacation pictures presented, but also how the viewers describe the experience through the use of language as revealed in the various file naves assigned to their images. The investigation of language is echoed with a recording of Marcel Duchamp reading his notes. Duchamp’s connection to the Mona Lisa dates back to 1919, with his work L.H.O.O.Q.
Statement by Edward Lund
Like many people I’ve enjoyed such films as Rear Window, Man-hunter, Silence of the Lambs, and Mystic River; and Law and Order, CSI, and Millennium on television. These are suspenseful stories of horrific crimes and the attempts to solve them. There are clues to by interpreted, evidence to analyze, alibis to verify, timelines to be evaluated, and someone to be found guilty of the heinous act.
We don’t value solving corporate crimes the way we seek out the entertainment of solving a homicide, rape, or child abduction. We are attracted to the plights of the subjects of our entertainment – the more gruesome the better. We are addicted to a morbid curiosity. Our vicarious participation allows us to overcome our most innate fears by investing in someone else’s misery.
I’ve created the four elements in this environment as clues to a possible scenario. Evidence indicates that certain events have taken place. the viewer/participant is offered the entertainment of arriving at a solution.
Statement by Quinn Gomez-Heitzeberg
The idea for this installation came about when I heard a public radio program about the Pulitzer Prize winning expose on WalMart that was published in the Los Angeles Times (see Sources and Documents). During the program, a caller who had done business with WalMart described the lobby where prospective vendors wait to meet with WalMart buyers. He described a room with little more than a receptionist’s desk and rows and rows of metal folding chairs. The idea that the world’s largest corporation was not willing to spend the money to provide decent chairs shocked me. That shock was replaced by irritation when I realized what a blatant and unnecessary exercise this was. In the relationship with their vendors, WalMart holds all the cards. Successful and unsuccessful vendors say the same thing about dealing with WalMart; give them what they want or they will not do business with you. WalMart is ruthless when it comes to getting what they want. This can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on what side of the profits you are. Within the WalMart culture, all things come down to price. There is nothing that will not be sacrificed to get a better price for the customer. For WalMart things are simple, you are either with them or against them.
The more I read about WalMart and other giant corporations, the more I realize that there are no easy answers. As much as people dislike WalMart, its economic force is undeniable. You cannot simply wish away the corporate culture that now fuels the world’s economy. Each of us, in our daily lives, makes choices that cause us to be more beholden to corporate power. If we do not have some idea how the system works, we cannot understand our place in it.
This installation is designed to illustrate the nature of WalMart and the individual’s relationship to it. I do not have an interest in telling people what to think about this issue, but rather in suggesting that we all need to make our own informed decisions.