August 26, 2015
Curated Conversations: Commodification of Culture
In the face of globalization, culture has become an object of consumption through channels such as tourism, advertising, and collecting practices. A new market of cultural voyeurism has fostered a rigid, consumable image of authenticity that elides the experiences of Indigenous peoples today and vigorously defines culture from the outside, turning culturally significant objects into consumable goods. A diverse group of artists responds to these challenges by formulating critiques of global capitalism, imagining exit strategies and creative disruptions to the commodification process, and combatting the persistence of stereotype in commodity culture. Artists participating in this conversation include: Jessie Kleemann, Nicholas Galanin and Charlene Teters.
Greenlandic performance artist Jessie Kleemann has engaged how cultural symbols like the Greenlandic national costume has been commodified. In her performance practice, Kleemann critically activates space, her body, and her viewers’ senses often in settings where violence against the body mirrors how body itself has become subjected to commodifying gazes.
Nicholas Galanin’s work makes similar challenges to a paralyzing notion of authenticity by remixing themes and materials and unsettling the cultural voyeur’s gaze.
Charlene Teters bridges activist and artistic practice to look at the persistence of stereotypes and how commodity culture parasitizes and appropriates expressions of Indigenous cultural identity.
The curated conversations series will take place over the next two years during the time the U.S. holds the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Part of the Anchorage Museum’s Polar Lab, a series of programs exploring life in the North. Sponsored by The CIRI Foundation. Included with admission.