I get down to Circular Quay, adverts for Vivid (what else would they call the festival) make the Tank stream bronze fountain sculptures dowdy.[i]
We live in a society where images are primary. Commodity fetishism points to commodities as intrinsically deceptive. Commodities have an aura of promise, of easy consumption hiding the labour involved in production, so that what you want to buy loses touch with its historic, political, environmental and labour reality.
Marxist critic Guy Debord Society of the Spectacle (1967) identifies the Russian Revolution of 1917 as a trigger, then in the Commentaries on the Society of the Spectacle (1988), World War Two. The spectacle is the ‘autocratic reign of the market economy’ – and ‘the heart of the unrealism of the real society.’Debord using a base of Marxist concepts (capital, alienation, commodity fetishism, ideology and reification) examined the fulfilment of commodity fetishism, of exchange value over the use value of objects) through the language of capital, composed of signs (language and images) that trick us into believing that the capitalist society of ever-increasing growth is the only way and the natural way.
[i] By Stephen Walker in 1981 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. It features flora and fauna including frogs, snakes, goannas and tortoises. A plaque set into the ground reads: “The Children’s Fountain – Dedicated to all the children who have played around the Tank Stream. Presented by John Fairfax & Sons Limited, 1981″.