While regine is away, I'm posting pieces about notable and award-winning works at Japan Media Art Festival. Some will be exhibited at Tokyo Metoropolitan Museum of Photography from February 24 till March 5.
Khan Artist, by Osman Khan (see also: "What's your net worth?" and "Sur la table"), looks just like a credit processing machine in front of the Artist. The Artist actually is registered as a validated merchant with the machine, and the Artist (or through a sales rep proxy) asks the visitor to make a purchase. When a purchase is made, no product or service is returned in kind at the time of transaction. The Artist's name will show up on the itemized list of the visitor's monthly statement.
This work is partly inspired by what happened after the tragedy of 9/11.
For the macro well being of a capitalist system, what is actually bought or sold becomes secondary to the actual act of consumer transactions transpiring. We saw this occur, as the government urged people to begin spending and purchasing in an effort to revive the American economy after the tragedy of 9/11. It was not important what was bought or sold, as long financial transactions kept flowing through the economic machine, the path to recovery would be under way. Perhaps it can be seen that a consumer society is actually more dependent on the acts of purchasing then the exchange of goods or services.
Simple as it looks, this work asks several provocative questions about art and consumption.
Khan Artist was selected as Jury Recommended Works out of the finalists of the 2005 Japan Media Arts Festival.