Far West. Exhibition: 20 September – 30 November 2008
During the period of the Liverpool Biennial, A Foundation will become a franchise store for Far West, a major cross-art form project exploring the new consumer and cultural relationships that are emerging as the economic centre of the world shifts towards the East.
The Far West franchise store stocks a number of products designed by artists that address the relationship between consumer and producer, drawing on the contemporary shift away from focus on the commodity, to focus on the experience of shopping.
In practice, this results in a more participatory experience within the store, with consumers actively producing, or part producing, the product they wish to buy. In SOI Project’s work, visitors are invited to construct a piece of paper fruit using the templates provided. They may then add their construction to a fake fruit stand, in exchange for a piece of real fruit, or simply buy what they’ve made and take it away.
Also available at the store are comics, toys, music, wallpaper and more. In the process of participating, visitors/shoppers will gain an insight into the experience economy; the commodification of ethnicity; the intertwining of economics, consumerism and culture; and the process of production. Through this new model for cultural/commodity consumption, Far West ask visitors/shoppers whether this level of open participation is a form of consumer emancipation, or whether it is simply the next stage in corporate appropriation.
Far West is curated by Nav Haq, Curator and Tom Trevor, Director of Arnolfini, Bristol. Far West is the first in the CONCEPT STORE series of projects at Arnolfini, exploring the interlinked notions of marketing, design, and experience economy.
Far West has been funded by The Arts Council England – Grants for The Arts, China Now and The British Council – Connections Through Culture, with support from Merlio Retail Systems.