SCRIPTED - Exhibition 2004

In my series “How to Achieve”, I have utilised the form of several computer software packages displayed on a shelf. These artworks are similar to the way computer software can be found arranged in stores, ready to be sold. The computer programs are titled Success and Family. Printed on the sides of the packages are the details of the minimum system requirements that are needed to run the “program”. However, where one would normally find required processor strength and minimum available memory, instead, one will find society’s current expectations of the prospective titles.

The proposed “How to Achieve” software series is based on the concept of the consumption of what is required to be considered as “successful”, or what is considered to be the norm for a modern day family”. However, these traditional definitions of “success” and “family” can no longer be applied in modern society and the artist hopes to show that traditional means to achieve success are no longer viable. The proposed idealizations are virtually unattainable in that despite traditional means of hard work, the chances of achieving success are minimal. It is absurd to suggest that the average citizen could ever accumulate $2 million a year and the average citizen merely dreams of owning their own house and car. Additionally, in today’s society, it is often the drive to become successful itself that negates the possibility of achieving “success”. In the Family series, traditional idealizations are that of a close-knit family unit living in a neat suburban home. In reality, 45 marriages out of 100 end in divorce and 11% of families are that of single parents. The traditional loving mother and providing father archetypes are often sacrificed in the race to accumulate money and material goods.

Society has evolved and individuals are now driven to utilize technology in order to attain what was once accomplished with hard work and honesty over many years. However, the language in which we describe ourselves have a penchant to endure. Traditional perceptions of the appeal of success and family persist while the advent of new technologies has warped the means to achieve those goals. Booming e-commerce has enabled companies to burgeon internationally virtually overnight while genetic manipulation will soon allow the customization of a family unit. Thus, the efficiency of technology undermines the traditional sense of some of society’s most valued goals. The work questions the offer that the opportunity to purchase or own technology will fulfils one’s dream and complete the desire to be more successful.