THE VERY STATE
I am Darcy Lazarus and tonight, you are my voyeur.
They are listening to you. While you’re on the phone to your Mum, engaging in half-whispered pillow talk or speaking to your cat in a nauseating baby voice that no one has ever heard except you and him… or so you think. The truth is, you are being listened to by something bigger, something omnipresent. Don’t believe me? Say out loud ‘Dog Grooming’. Go on, say it out loud. Repeat it. Soon you’ll have dog grooming ads plastered across the little screen that never leaves your hand. They listen while you sleep and not only, but they pleasure themselves in reading your search history—‘weird red spot on butt cheek’, ‘how to French kiss’, ‘what to do after eating raw chicken’—they read it all, all your most revealing personal web searches. And if this isn’t invasive enough, they don’t just read it for some kicks, or to procure a lowly meep from their faceless shadowy robotic faces—they are using this to make money. And you are the product and you can’t escape it. They are selling your personal information. All your selfies, your messages, all the thoughts, doubts and enquiries you channel into the search bar, and every sound you make. They even watch you through your webcam and are selling pictures and videos on the black market. Is the true face of evil not a face at all, just a machine that never sleeps, a web of cogs that refuse to grind to a halt—how could they, with all the information they must churn through? A silk road of your identity bought and sold back to you, packaged in advertisements to rob you of the money you’ve slaved away your existence for. You are a living breathing human… product. Recognising the inescapable nature of the machine we are married to has come to suffocate me, with the only remedy for these feelings found in artistic expression. My work therefore grapples with mechanised society on a visual, auditory and material basis.
The Very State aims to reframe how the audience engages with screen-based media and sound, practical objects, and the physical space of a gallery. Video content is usually consumed on our phones, computers, televisions, cinema, billboards, and so on. The displayed projection of The Very State on a work sign posits its framing in contrast to this norm by repurposing a discarded item used for practical public service—imparting road safety information—and speaks to the integration of consumption into the public and industrial sphere, remarking on how the two are increasingly becoming one and the same. A further point of detachment of this object from its everyday purpose is having been turned into an installation possessing sculptural, physical presence. This paradigm, when placed in contrast to its functional materiality and industrial themes, creates an effect of dissonance between art and society. This piece asks its audience to consider the meaning of a lowly roadside object when it has been divorced from context and rehoused within the perimeters of gallery walls – an environment often perceived as a bubble, a solace from the working commercial world, free in expression and only accessible to a highbrow audience.
The Living State uses macro photos that capture tight close-up images of various domestic items that share materiality with construction. This material exploration aims to bridge the chasm the exists between industry and the domestic, work and leisure, and consumption and freedom. It comments on the intertwining in our society of production, consumption, consumerism, commercialism—as a result of labour, industry and with our daily lives, our soul and our hearth. The macro perspective of the photographs allows focus on these objects and textures that our bodies interact with on a daily basis. The abstraction of the imagery beyond recognition of their function reflects our human alienation and disassociation in our current working life, as common people are without control and stripped of power.