I love images which speak for themselves. There can be no doubt as to what specifically most of Pokoik’s Global City is about, at least in my mind. When I see our modern commercial world photographed like this, I automatically react with a tremor of fear for the future, but I don’t doubt that many people have a very positive reaction to this profusion of color and product. Visually speaking, I don’t blame them. What I worry about though, is the unavoidable glamorization of subject matter, regardless of how critical it is, through placement on wall, in a magazine, in any public form that has any hint of salesmanship and promotion to it. We might have a different reaction to these images if we found them in a textbook, which primarily serves the subject matter rather than itself.
Would our attitudes toward consumption and exporting consumerist habits to the rest of the world change if fashionable mainstream media were drenched in such imagery? Photographs like Pokoik’s are relevant in the most direct way, and I’d like to think that, displayed in the right places, they would make a difference. They deserve wider circulation than in the art world, which is, after all, more ambiguous, and focused on the aesthetic side of things and therefore work is somewhat at risk of being looked at in terms of style rather than subject matter. Call something an expose or document and it’s one, call it art and it’s a whole other ballgame, isn’t it? I suppose part of the blame falls on the mainstream journalism community which seems to stay away from work without a very clear message. Ambiguity is scary!
Makes me wonder how people reacted to Courbet or the socially-realist painters back in the day.