What will satisfy you? What keeps you from wanting more? How much is enough? Visual artist Wangechi Mutu asks these questions, and more, through her short film, The End of eating Everything. Santigold stars in the animated short as a Medusa-like creature, devouring all that is around her, blinded by the trappings of greed.
Snake strands wildly whip and curl amongst a sea of black birds, empowering Santigold’s character to satisfy her thirst, and before the video trailer fades away, you the viewer began to realize that the character, despite all her supremacy is not happy. She lives to hunt, and see’s nothing past her own desires. In Greek mythology, Medusa was once a beautiful maid, known for her ability to easily charm suitors. Unlike her sisters, she was born a mortal, but was later transformed into a monster as punishment for her pride and obsession with vanity.
Through the film, humanity’s lust for materialism is the beast Mutu seeks to decapitate, but slaying demons of mass consumerism is a lonely battle.
As Mutu explained to MOCAtv, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s YouTube channel, each of us has the capacity to allow voracious monsters take hold of our thoughts; “talking about consumption is also talking about a state of mind… really how much do we need?… it’s something I’ve thought about for a long time.”
The Kenyan-born artist is best known for using Mylar polyester film to create collages that speak to themes of womanhood, sexuality, and war. Like the rest of her work, Mutu has used her first animated film to deliver political statements in fantastical form. Taking initiative to not only state her curiosity, but also contemplate possible answers.
In the same interview, Santigold reflects on the film’s connection to popular culture and artistry, stating, “Hip-hop especially, it’s all name dropping – ‘I got this, I got that, I got this brand and this brand, and I’m rich’ – it’s so materialistic, but it’s so empty…What I think is so interesting about this piece is it’s literally about how the pendulum turns… when you’re so far gone, you have nowhere else to go, and it’s sort of an implosion and that’s what’s happened to her… and I think that’s exactly where we are in culture and in art.”
Commissioned as part of the exhibition Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey the film is on view at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University until July 21.[via ArtInFact]