Curious Trends


Broken society: victim culture in the arts

Is the faltering note at the end of Leona Lewis’s new single, Hurt, sung on purpose? It's an interesting choice of song - and her version seems to pander to the victim culture (see video clip and lyrics below). The appeal of not being perfect, but being human, is the latest curious trend. In contrast to the golden days of Hollywood, modern celebrity status is largely based upon ritual public humiliation. Good deeds, acts of heroism and success are not newsworthy, but defects and disaster are...

If evidence of our broken society is not already laid out before us, with global economic woes compounding the effects of recent social and relationship shifts, artists have made it their mission to emphasize the problems we face, both now – and in the future. Japanese ceramicist, Makiko Nakamura’s 100 Years After the Party has a beautifully handcrafted porcelain tea service shattered and strewn across the table.

Jeremy Hutchison’s project (seen at Saatchi and Channel 4’s New Sensations exhibition) required that factories produce incorrect versions of their products/designs.

Here are some examples of designs created for his Err installation:

Other artists have illustrated how we are slaves to modern technology and temptations – victims of our own making:

 Ronin Chin’s torture chair;

a mosaic of Amy Winehouse made from pills;

 a still life of consisting of a Louis Vuitton straight jacket, with a bowl of pills at the table.

Pure Evil illustrates the pain of infamy:

Julia Vogl wants us to wash away our ditry deeds (with a choice of soap colour to match our misdemeanor):

Artists focusing on retro icons and designs feel the need to show them smashed up, or broken:

Nate Frizzell shows ordinary people lost amidst the wilderness of urban dereliction and the emptiness of the modern world in works such as ‘Alone Yet Surrounded’ (below) and ‘Left Defenseless to the Heat and Light’ (above top).

This installatioin by Jonathan Meese is a real mess:

Do we need to address our social turmoil, our relationship issues, the causes of our broken society? Or do we simply enjoy wallowing in our pain?

I hurt myself today,
To see if I still feel,
I focus on the pain,
The only thing that's real,

The needle tears a hole,
The old familiar sting,
Try to kill it all away,
But I remember everything,

What have I become,
My sweetest friend,
Everyone I know,
Goes away in the end,

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,
I will let you down,
I will make you hurt,

I wear this crown of thorns,
Upon my liars chair,
Full of broken thoughts,
I cannot repair,

Beneath the stains of time,
The feelings disappear,
You are someone else,
I am still right here,

And you could have it all,
My empire of dirt,
I will let you down,
I will make you hurt,

If I could start again,
A million miles away,
I will keep myself,
I would find a way.

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