A concern to document and map the contemporary world, its borders and the often uneasy navigation between ‘local’ and ‘global’ runs through many works in the exhibition. Many artists are responding to increasingly interlinked geographies by producing idiosyncratic and disruptive inventories of the world. These constitute erratic atlases of inhabited spaces which express perspectives on cultural ‘globalism’ and economic ‘globalisation’.
Rivane Neuenschwander’s Mapa-mundi BR (postal) 2007, for example, presents a tour of the world without leaving the borders of Brazil by showcasing the imaginations of Brazilian business owners who have appropriated the mystique of locations, from the Bahamas Bar to the Cairo Carwash, in naming their enterprises. Frédéric Bruly Bouabré, a senior artist from Côte d’Ivoire, catalogues luxury brand advertising in his ‘Publicités’ drawings, including Heineken beer, Ralph Lauren shoes and Havanitos cigars.
These works reflect the global reach of multinational brands and the transnational flow of goods and images, as does Danish collaborative group SUPERFLEX’s apocalyptic video set inside a reconstructed McDonald’s outlet. Flooded McDonalds 2008 creates a powerful image of the results of over consumption and global warming; such cautionary visions suggest that beyond blaming multinationals and forces which exceed individual control, an accumulation of individual ethical choices can have great effect.