Detail of the installation Product Recall: An Index of Innovation, 2014-2015
Maryam Jafri works with installations, films, photography, texts and archives in projects that employ art’s critical potential to dramatize or investigate archaeologies of knowledge, the production of spaces, and the politics of images. Based in research and archive materials, her works examine the methods and conditions of production and movement of goods in the globalized capitalist economy, and the psychological dimension of consumer culture produced by this economy. In Product Recall: An Index of Innovation (2014-2015), Jafri examines private collections linked to the food industry and to advertising. Her interest focuses on products and their ads, developed in the United States from 1970s onwards, which were regarded as innovative but were recalled from the market for various reasons. Next to images and objects from this archeology of consumer culture, the artist juxtaposes informative captions – a museographical strategy for representing artifacts and an approach adopted by the language of appropriation art. The clean display contrasts with the visual appeal commonly associated with product design and advertising campaigns. This contrast causes these strategies of manipulation and production of emotions and desires to be neutralized and put at a critical distance.