The state of having insecure employment or income. ‘growing economic precarity’
— Oxford Living Dictionary
#artlifelottery is my artistic method of tracing the contours of the notions put forward in Lauren Berlant’s book, Cruel Optimism.
Along with a growing number of scholars, the author points out the emergence of a new class of persons called the "Precariat": an emerging class marked by insecure employment, rapidly transformative technology and political instability.
A way of managing this everyday precarity, the author argues, is to rely upon dreams and fantasies that may, in actuality, be unhelpful in removing the subject from their particular predicament.
My art practice links these "dream survival" strategies with government-sponsored Lotteries, which exist in many industrialized nations.
On one of my frequent walks in New York City, my eyes open to under-remarked aesthetic experiences, I happened upon a news stand that displayed a prodigious number of lottery "Instant Game" cards.
I had scarcely paid attention to the these items with their colorful, shiny and alluring surfaces, which — for the first time — beckoned me, arrayed in a grid pattern in clear plastic display cases.
#artlifelottery appropriates the aesthetics and sentiment of instant lottery tickets in the form of seven archival inkjet prints on metallic substrate mounted to plywood. Each surface will have a layer of "scratch-off" material added to the artwork, to mimic the experiential component.
The imagery of each piece embodies an aspirational trope of good fortune, wealth and success: a roulette wheel, a pair of dice, diamonds, a rainbow with a pot of gold, gold bullion, stacks of cash and a triplet of "sevens" on a slot machine.
#artlifelottery is also an attempt to draw a link between the precarious position of many human beings to that of the artist's life inside the "art world" milleu, which has seen an inexorable trend towards a "winner take all" system. In each case, the aspirant may be clinging to the hope of "The Big Win."
As in the case of the Casino industry, however, the Game has been refined and subtly finessed over time to adhere to the trope that "The House Always Wins."