Lifeless is a neon installation by Kristin McIver, based around the theme of aspiration, obsession and desire in the global age.

Kristin McIver is a Melbourne-based artist whose practice challenges our notion of identity as embodied by architecture and mass-culture. Through her works, McIver explores various facets of “The Dream” life to which the middle class aspire. She explores in both a local and global context, the way that fundamental human needs are transformed into desirable commodities by profiteers.

Lifeless references the financial boom of the last decade, which has given rise to a resurgence of luxury goods, services and lifestyle choices. This culture of aspiration has resulted in an environment where more is never enough. Banality is a sin, and dreams can be purchased.

In an attempt to satiate our burgeoning desires, “utopian” environments are being constructed before our eyes. Global cities such as Dubai transcend cultural backgrounds or evolutionary histories; evolving before our eyes as spectacular, extraordinary landscapes that propose a better future - seducing the western world into a capitalist fantasy. As Boris Groys stated, “globalisation has replaced the future as the site of utopia”.

Lifeless proposes that the media and digital age have created a desiring machine, resulting in a global culture obsessed with material consumption. Corporate profiteers are expanding their markets into remote corners of the globe, exploiting countries desperately trying to buy into the capitalist dream.

The seductive nature of the work mimics the futuristic developments and their glossy promotional material as exploited in the recent boom time. Lifeless inverts borrowed phrases from domestic marketing, emblazoning them in neon to seduce the viewer into the work, and then exposing them to the irony and falsity of their message.

Through Lifeless, McIver proposes that obsession, desire, aspiration - and their perpetuity through exploitation - may eventually be the elements which turn capitalism on itself. The unfolding global financial crisis may condemn these dream environments to the realm of fantasy.

Are these utopian environments and dream lifestyles born out of a collective human desire, or are these desires instilled in us to serve the financial needs of big business?

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