The merger of ‘sacred’ contemporary objects and aboriginal artifacts makes me intensely uncomfortable; it brings up issues of authenticity, commodity fetishism, and corruption in the assimilation of two powerful cultural symbols. (Close-ups here).


Jungen first came to public attention with his Prototypes for New Understanding(1998-2005), a selection of Nike Air Jordan trainers that he dissected and reassembled to resemble Northwest Coast Indian masks. Conflating the transformative power of ceremonial masks with Nike consumers’ desire to emulate or become sport stars by wearing a particular brand of trainers, Jungen plays with economic and cultural values, revealing the power of contemporary ‘idols’ and linking colonial history with today’s Third World sweatshop labor. [via WDW]