Josephine Meckseper (b. 1964)
0% Down (2008)
Through carefully composed installations, photographs, and films, Josephine Meckseper exposes the political ramifications of America’s culture of consumption. In this work, Meckseper uses a video camera to explore Minneapolis’s Mall of America—one of the top tourist destinations in the United States—pausing to examine window displays, sale signs, and dormant rides in its indoor amusement park.
Meckseper then manipulates the footage, employing ironically patriotic red and blue filters—a technique inspired by French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard. The artist also turns the footage on its side and adds a vaguely sinister soundtrack. The result is an abstraction of otherwise documentary images and a sense of alienation and disorientation. The mall becomes a hostile, dangerous place. When Meckseper happens upon a flight simulator attraction in the mall, she includes footage from the fighter pilot movie on display and from the simulator, injecting a military presence—albeit a fictional one. In both the mall and in Meckseper’s video, the experience of war and violence is not only sanitized and stripped of meaning, it is for sale.