Top left: Omni Consumer Products, Fight Club Soap; top right: Oliver Munday “The Ladies’ Paradise” poster; lower left: Ryan Watkins-Hughes, Shopdropping Project; lower right: Dana Wyse, Detail from Jesus Had A Sister Productions installation, 1997
In the savvy 21st century, we view commercial material culture as inauthentic, phony, and less than legitimate. Or at least, that’s what we say we think. As Real As It Gets puts a different idea on offer by gathering fictional products, imaginary brands, hypothetical advertising and speculative objects, devised by artists, designers, writers, musicians, companies and in one case, a government entity.
Here’s the pitch: The ambiguity in the relationship between our selves and our brand-soaked world is exactly what’s worth taking seriously, not waving away. When the consideration is filtered through an open and unpredictable mind, anything seems possible, if not exactly plausible: ersatz brands get defictionalized into buyable existence and non-products get shop-dropped onto retail shelves. Imaginary brands and fictional products can become a means of expressing joy, fear, humor, unease, ambivalence — the real stuff, in other words.
The medium is the marketplace. Come browse for yourself. No purchase required.
Rob Walker, As Real as It Gets press release
The show runs from November 16 till December 22. It opens one week from tomorrow at apexart on Thursday, November 15: 6-8 pm.
This week, I figured we’d take a look at some of the show’s participants (including: Beach Packaging Design).