Mashup Painting and Liquid Modern Consumerism: Engagement through the Street, Impact through the Storefront

Laura Mitchell (ECU)
2019 Conference

The aim of this research is to produce a series of paintings and exegetical writing that uses mashup and retroscapes to critique and comprehend consumerism in the digital age. There is a lack of meaning in contemporary life in our post-global financial crisis (GFC) digital age. Consumerism fills the void created by this lack of meaning as it becomes incessant unfulfilled desire. Philosopher and sociologist Zygmunt Bauman’s term ‘liquid life’ provides a starting point to research this contemporary human condition: the search for meaning through consumption, and subsequent unfulfilled desire. This research also draws upon marketing strategies such as retroscapes (an aspect of retrobranding) in visualising 21st century consumer landscape. In this research mashup concepts and method will be used to reflect desire, consumerism and retroscapes.

Theories that inform the research are drawn from Bauman, psychologist Jacques Lacan, and consumer culture theorists such as Craig Thompson. This practice-led research project will use expanded painting mashup as an embodied approach to critique consumerism. For the purposes of this research Mashup is defined as a creation using material from two or more disparate sources, and expanded painting is defined as that which uses complementary mediums with painting as the primary body of work. This research connects painting in post-GFC diaspora to the art historical framework of 1950’s and 1980’s pop art movements, as well as the evolution of the term mashup in the visual arts. In order to reflect and comment upon the effect of consumerism on our physical and subjective landscapes, source material called ‘retroscapes’ will be defined and employed.

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About the author

Mitchell is a U.S.-Australian contemporary artist and PhD Candidate at Edith Cowan University, WA. A member of A.I.R. Gallery NYC and Artsource, WA, she also founded the artists collective Destabilising Walls which received DLGSC-WA support for an inaugural exhibition and forum at PS Artspace, WA. Upcoming exhibitions and residencies include Fringe World Festival 2020 at Spectrum Project Space-ECU, Gallery 25-ECU, and Nyistor Gallery, WA.