In a society so focused on consumerism and individualism, we are bombarded daily with the idea that consumption of goods is economically desirable and the only thing that matters—to the detriment of civil duties and communal good. More recently, marketers have co-opted the sociological term Social Currency as a way of using social connections (mainly through social media, internet, television) to create and increase the value of the branding of products.
The Open Circles project encourages communities to re-examine the idea of social currency in a non-consumer and non-marketing light: How do we measure the value of simple human kindness, the action of good Samaritans, feeding the hungry, upholding certain human rights? What is the real cost of undervaluing a segment of our society?
Through the Open Circles project collaborations, I will work with each community to invest value, meaning, and power in regular folks, ordinary human relation,s and simple materials—second-hand plates, wire coat hangers, shopping bags, and other common materials that our society overlooks or deems worthless. The work will support expression of multiple and unique viewpoints and perspectives. Placing these installations in a gallery situated inside a mall—the epitome of American consumerism—will further expose the general public to these ideas, while also bringing in an entirely different audience that normally doesn’t attend galleries and museums, to look at art in a different light.