Remember when George Bush told America that it needed to go shopping in order to keep the economy strong right after 9/11 and not let the terrorists win the war? Well, apparently, he never said that, but for some reason many, including myself, remember him saying this, to the point where there are internet explanations/documentations that prove that he never said this. In other words many people think or want to think, that this is true. What is that all about? Somewhere in that false belief there is a truth, like all myths, it speaks to a deeper understanding that we perceive, project and expand, when triggered by certain events. In this case our understanding is that those in power bring us war from a desire for economic gain. Located at the gate to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Kittery, Maine is a place for shopping and submarines and thus at the epicenter for representing this key myth that is at the heart of our current tragic condition of economic “distress”. Will shopping be our salvation? More than a decade has passed since 9/11 and it has become abundantly clear that it is not. Our consumer economy is in jeopardy of failing to deliver on its promises. The reality, in my mind, is that we are told endless lies by those who lack the bigger concerns or vision for a healthy, holistic, sustainable economic base, yet who somehow hold the cards and make decisions…like moving factory jobs overseas and profiting from an ever increasing war economy. Their motive, I believe, is short-term financial gain, and their vision is: come what may.
Outlets and submarines; these two features in our local landscape share qualities of un-sustainability, failure and lack of vision. The Kittery outlets are not really outlets in the way that outlets first came to be known in Maine. There was a time when Maine had factory jobs and outlets were attached to the factories as opportunities for employees to obtain factory rejects at a reduced price. I’d like to know where the factories are now? They are no longer in Maine and to add insult to injury, we now revel at the opportunity to purchase seconds after they have been shipped back to us from over seas and presented to us in glistening outlet malls. Our jobs of the future, with this trajectory, will depend on war and exploitation; war will guarantee us work building and maintaining war machines and exploitation will guarantee the loss of our ability to manufacture anymore as we take our place selling the next shipment of factory rejects that we can no longer even afford to purchase.
So, let this art installation be about the lies, starting with the “outlet” stores and ending with the promise of jobs in the war economy…all of it proffered under the manipulative guise of patriotism.
Kenny Cole – April 2013