Cadillac Ranch (1974) is an installation commissioned by Amarillo billionaire Stanley March 3, and created by the Ant Farm. The Ant Farm is a group of artists and architects from San Francisco which produced experimental artworks. Ant Farm uses different art forms such as architecture, performance, sculpture, installation and graphic design while documenting all these on camera in order to spread critical criticism about the American culture and mass media.
About the artwork itself, Cadillac Ranch shows 10 Cadillac vehicles of different models, buried halfway into the mud in a straight row, at an angle similar to the angle of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The 10 different car models serve to show the changes in the tail-fin from 1949 to 1963. The cars were however vandalised with spray paint as they were left there, but Ant Farm would regularly go back to repaint the cars.
“Ant Farm presented a wonderful alternative model where you can love cars and critique them, where the assassination of JFK can be deconstructed, celebrated, and shuddered at, where private passions and public issues can hit a kind of merge lane”
It was to talk about materialism and fame as well, a homage to the rise and fall of the tail-fin as an icon of postwar American consumer excess. The purpose was to make a statement about innovation in a technological era, the American dream and the ridiculousness of consumerism. The founder of Ant Farm, Chip Lord, had a particular fascination for the Cadillac tailfin as a design motif of American futurism, utopianism, desire, seduction and pure style. What initially was meant as a roadside art piece was cleverly tweaked in its meaning to represent the values of the American society.
Hello World! is a work by artist Christopher Baker where he compiles over 5000 videos of different individuals speaking to an imagined audience from their private spaces onto a single screen as an installation to talk about participative media and the human desire to be heard. He is inspired by the interconnectivity present in our world today, where we might be alone in our own spaces but yet we can be together on this online platform. The viewers can either listen in to each speaker or just be immersed in the cacophony.
The artist wants to discuss about how technology created the existence of social media platforms which functions as a medium for people to share their views with the world, while expressing concerns as to if this ‘third space’ is really providing a suitable platform for them to actually be heard. He wants to focus on the concept of a third space and how it gives people the idea of their presence being noticed. The individuals in the videos continue sharing their opinions with the idea that there are people paying attention to them. However, this makes the third space of the social networking platform seem very one-sided in a sense that although individuals are given the opportunity to share their opinions, their opinions are not essentially heard by everyone else. This brings to a discussion as to if these platforms are social if they do not effectively provide a response to all the opinions voiced out.