Branding Democracy

Location:  New York, NY
Project Description: 

Branding Democracy was a year-long multidisciplinary thematic exploration that gathered thinkers, artists, and the general audience around “democracy.” The project looked at the design and packaging of the concept of democracy and the multiple ways in which it is turned into a consumer brand. It intended to expose the reasons behind this commodification and to indirectly indicate a way out of the impasse of democracy. The exhibition OURS: Democracy in the Age of Branding examined behaviors and desires generated and promoted by the brand of American democracy. In so doing, it looked at notions of choice, freedom of expression, and the promise of individual success, and the ways in which these desires find fulfillment or not. Artworks explored aesthetic and political systems of representation, addressed the voiceless that are excluded from official representation, or dealt with the ways in which our media landscape represents official and unofficial government statements. There was also a platform used to stage lectures, performances, workshops, and panel discussions, and an online exhibition that elaborated further on the theme. The public programming lasted for the entire year. Branding Democracy intended to raise awareness, knowledge and understanding of democracy and its commodificationt from a variety of angles and perspectives, including the arts, the social sciences, philosophy, law, etc. Through exhibitions, film screenings, lectures, panel discussions, etc., it engaged a plurality of people, organizing events that were free and open to the public. Participating artists included: Yael Bartana, Erick Beltrán, Alexis Bhagat, Paul Chan, Joseph DeLappe, Alexandra Domanovic, Sam Durant, Kota Ezawa, Andrea Geyer, Liam Gillick, Sharon Hayes, Susan Hiller, Ashley Hunt, I Approve This Message, Institute for Infinitely Small Things, Emma Kay, Komar & Melamid, Asaf Koriat, Runo Lagomarsino, Steve Lambert, Les Liens Invisibles, Ligorano/Reese, Miguel Luciano, Michael Mandiberg, Emery C. Martin, Aleksandra Mir, Carlos Motta, Dave Muller, Timo Nasseri, Ariel Orozco, Trevor Paglen, PETLab, Nadine Robinson, Anri Sala, Hank Willis Thomas, Johan Tiren, Brian Tolle, Judi Werthein, Wooloo Productions, The Yes Men, and Carey Young.