“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”
- Edward Abbey
On February 1st, of 1968 Associated Press photojournalist Eddie Adams took a disturbing photo of an execution in the streets of Saigon, that would go on to become an iconic image of the horrors of the Vietnam War. It’s a photo of General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Viet Cong prisoner in Saigon. When i was thinking about trying to create an image about the dynamics of Capitalism this photo came to mind.
Capitalism is ubiquitous. It can’t be escaped, everyone is forced to participate. There’s not a single aspect of our life that goes untouched. It affects the fundamental aspects of survival, where we live, what we eat, access to medical care, the ability to educate ourselves. It affects our relationships with family, friends, life partners. It limits our ability, constrains our creativity and dictates our potential. It’s inescapable, if you don’t cooperate with it you die. Capitalism is a gun to the head. The dollars coming out of the gun of the executor are multiplied as they come out of the head executed. Killing or dying it’s all profit for capitalism.
The fact that this photo came from the Vietnam era was also something that fit perfectly into what I was trying to do. The Vietnam War was framed as an ideological battle between democracy (dressed as capitalism) and communism. (As a side note communism is actually a democracy, but i digress.) The idea was to frame this gruesome image into an advertisement for Capitalism.
Advertising is the creation of seduction for the purposes of profit. Seduction is the emotional mortar that hold the building blocks of possibility in place long enough to promise some kind of fulfillment. So i flipped the dynamics of advertisement to soften the mortar to bring down the structure of a promise that can never be kept.
Coca-Cola is an avatar for Capitalism. Using the Coca-Cola typeface to advertise Capitalism made sense since everywhere you go in the world you can find Coca-Cola. Since the only rule in Capitalism is profit at any cost… mixing that up with the phrase “By Any Means Necessary” made infamous by Malcolm X completed my visual critique of Capitalism.
If you like this image and want to spread this critique of Capitalism around check out Audio Visual Terrorism… i designed it as a t-shirt and as a 1″ button… And no that doesn’t make me a capitalist… The definition of capitalism is here… i’m still the same struggling artist i always was and like everyone else i’m stuck in the shitstem of capitalism… Until capitalism is gone i’ll be forced to use capitalism against itself…