The intent behind the 48 Laws Exposure is to provoke an examination of the rules we use to obtain success. It does this by using images of individuals associated with power, terror, celebrity, or infamy in order to illustrate an irony or reveal a truth to the viewer. The images are intentionally distorted in some way to set the tone for the series, but still recognizable, in order to draw and hold attention.
The text are direct exerts from Robert Greene and Joost Elffers's 48 Laws of Power , a social philosophy manifesto that shares thematic basis with Machiavelli's The Prince. Thus each law is written with an amoral and sinister tone that takes reader off guard, despite whatever merits may below to each law. The purpose, we are reminded, is obtaining power, nothing else.
These images illustrate figures that have somehow demonstrated or failed to follow these laws of power.
The viewer is not expected to have ever read or known theses laws. The obscure color contrasts and filters are an attempt to engage the viewer while the written law on the poster is intended to politicize the image.
Finally there is fact that viewer must ask "where did this come from?", "what does that mean right now?", and then decided if it is upsetting or enlightening. I expect to receive both responses because I grappled with these emotions myself while creating it.
The project took form once I began to consider real-life examples of each of the laws. I picked the four that I felt made the greatest commentary with regard to our nation and popular culture. Colin Powell and Bernard Madoff are both images that are extremely political on their own and yet when juxtaposed with the law they hold a magnifying glass to a larger issue. Conversely, Michael Jackson and Osama Bin Laden are household names whose infinite notoriety allows the law used on the poster to illustrate a very specific point.
These images are not intended to be cautionary, but they are an announcement to reexamine power and status. How we obtain it, and specifically the means we employ to hold on to it. As college students, the majority of the audience is silently obsessed with it. This draws upon Hobbes ideology, a belief that human beings are naturally competitive and self-interested. Although, we as a society strive to disprove that, the figures in these images are iconic examples of what one might obtain living by these laws; however at what cost and whose expense?