This project started with a piece done in 1978about the function of advertising within a capitalist mode of production, and how in advertising models are used to represent some idealized reality. Take for instance a travel ad where a couple, bodies glistening from the sun, leisurely relax beneath palm trees on a beach of white sand and clear blue water. That couple didn’t just happen to be there in that idyllic seascape, they are models, carefully cast for their toned bodies and good looks. This ad, as all advertising does, exploits the viewer’s need to escape from their alienated social relations into the warm, comforting arms of consumption.
The “Models of Idealized Existence” database piece further explores this ‘use’ of models, as well as the role of data accumulation and categorization in bourgeois society. The piece was originally done in 1987 in a spreadsheet application. I later recreated it using a database management system in order to utilize all the query, graphing, and interface functionality inherent to a database. For more about databases in general and this piece in particular see the statement.