16 December 2011

Prisoners

Prisoners is a video made by Terry Flaxton in 1983-84 using footage from the making of Apple's famous advertisement launching the first Macintosh. This is the ad:



In Prisoners Flaxton juxtaposes images of the making of the ad with texts from George Orwell's famous Nineteen Eighty-Four and excerpts from conversations with extras on the set. It is a brilliant approach to investigating the curious correspondence between Apple's ideology (seen even more clearly with hindsight) and Orwell's 1984 dystopian prediction. This is nowhere more clearly highlighted than in the very fact that Apple are so at pains (presciently, over 25 years ago) to affirm that, because of them, 1984 "won't be like" 1984. But what about 2012?

Flaxton's last text-frame reads:

"It seems as though the sheer weight of the image has overcome my intention – strangely this has also happened in the ad – one simple voiceover cannot regain the ground lost. '1984' as an idea will always mean what Orwell intended. Oblivious to our fears, that year has passed and we have yet to deal with those ideas that hold us prisoner."


For more info on Terry Flaxton, see his page on LUX's website: http://www.lux.org.uk/collection/artists/terry-flaxton

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