Drawing the Plastic Pilgrimage III

I’ve started sieving through the portfolio a little bit more this week after the comments on Tuesday and have finally written a short prologue to the project. This would come in the front with a little icon to ask the reader to play the compiled video:

These were some brands that were watching from the side-lines as Wall Street declared the death of the brand. Funny, they must have thought; we don’t feel dead.

(Klein, 1999, p. 36)

Originally known as R.H. Macy & Co., Macy’s is a departmental store chain owned by Macy’s Inc., the largest U.S. department store company by retail sales. As of January 2016, Macy’s operates 769 store locations in the continental United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam, including its crème de la crème flagship location on Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan, New York.

In 1924, Macy’s decided to gift the city of New York its most treasured tradition to date, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the heavenly aroma of cooking turkey floats through every nook and cranny of the city, Mickey Mouse, Pikachu, and even Superman, are watched soaring down Central Park West, casting shadows along the granite jungle. With its celebrity-decked floats and novelty balloons – the size of decent cathedrals, mind you – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have lined the streets with countless millions of people, be it in rain, sleet or snow, to unite in one mass out of sheer holiday pleasure.

Annually performing, the parade begins to morph into an eternal being, consuming more of New York with every cycle. It moves precisely to every tug and tow of its hidden puppeteer, only to fool its fervent disciples of its menacing cult rituals of death, resurrection and eternalism. Macy’s, all-powerful and knowing, becomes the Purveyor of Immortality, consummating its believers on Holy Thanksgiving Day. The design project takes a closer look at this staged pilgrimage and all its whizz and wonders, bringing to light its inner workings and revealing what deviousness lies within this plastic religion…

I’ve also started the large site plan/city vitrine drawing to conclude the project, framing the parade on its route and the five corresponding shrines, which I have not include in the drawing yet. The vitrine dimensions for the shrines might change according to the final drawings. I am thinking of writing a short epilogue to go with this drawing as final conclusion for the project, I found it quite helpful when I did it last year for RLD.

 4 a3 square

One thought on “Drawing the Plastic Pilgrimage III

  1. I really love the introduction you have written – it perfectly sets the tone for the project ahead drawing in the core themes of death, resurrection and immortality as well as identifying the somewhat sinister nature of the parade as part of the big brand of Macy’s as purveyor of immortality. It is a good step forward for the portfolio since it frames the argument really clearly to allow everyone to understand your thesis before getting into the meat of the project.
    Thinking more about your portfolio, it might be useful to use the Semester 1 investigation into plastic and embedded data as appendices or supporting material for a specific shrine or chapter on a specific stage in the life cycle? You need to find a way to incorporate into the portfolio the volume of research and supporting material you have sifted through to generate this project as some sort of format whether it is case files, appendix, encyclopaedia, or even shopping catalogue?
    I like the beginnings of the vitrine drawing but I think the vitrines over the shrines should change in scale according to what they are encasing – the pink seems quite jarring in terms of the overall colour palette of the portfolio – the colours of the parade are more primary or jewel/ character toned – Barney purple, Mickey Mouse red, Popeye peach or spinach green etc. Think about where to introduce colour – perhaps in contrast to your taxonomy of balloons through the decades, in this drawing, the parade is drawn in Black and White but the shrines are seen in colour with the route weaving between the two?
    I enjoyed this paper about the importance of the vitrine and maybe there are a few quotes in here that could help develop or contextualise the drawing: http://www.academia.edu/3847882/How_does_the_vitrine_interrogate_the_ideology_of_the_artefact_A_discussion_about_the_reflexive_influence_of_museology – it would be good to frame this drawing through a title or caption that captures what you discussed about the city as a vitrine for the parade, and in turn the shrines are a vitrine for the process of its making, and unmaking.
    This is also an interesting project by Kim Bjarke that looks at the copy and the encasement of originals within resin – it has similarities to your project both materially in terms of plastic, encasing, embedding etc. as well as theoretically in the ideas it explores about preservation and decay: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/PORTFOLIO/PROJECTSREVIEW/projectreview.php?title=Projects%20Review%202011&url=projectsreview2011.aaschool.ac.uk/ – read the text he wrote about his project and how it relates to the imagery – the seriousness of the black and white imagery goes perfectly with his strict argument and muse: Mies van der Rohe – in the same way that the joyful yet sinister excess and opulence of the parade works perfectly with your consumerist narrative on death, resurrection and immortality.
    Think also about how you bring materiality into your views and drawings of the shrines – the texture you have used to generate the drawings works but it would be nice to be quite specific about what is plastic, inflated, solid, textured etc. This exhibition of Rachel Whiteread’s drawings included objects from her collection that provided inspiration for her projects as well as serving as a sort of physical memory – its qualities remind me a lot of your models, and how the pieces of your portfolio could be arranged: https://hammer.ucla.edu/exhibitions/2010/rachel-whiteread-drawings/

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