In the year 2025, Citarella isn’t doing so well. Donald J. Trump has just rounded out his second term as president, and the world is a mess—half underwater, with basic services nonexistent, and with only the 1% able to afford efficient transportation that avoids the floods (via Uber-esque helicopters, naturally). Meanwhile, Citarella sits in a cramped micro-studio, surviving on potatoes and dried lentils while waiting for coveted freelance assignments to arrive via an ultra-high-speed internet connection.
Let’s be clear: This is only one possible future, the artist’s conjuring of what an “anarcho-capitalist” America might look like. It’s the subject of SWIM A Few Years From Now
, a 12-by-8-foot photographic triptych that Citarella debuts with London’s Carroll / Fletcher
at this year’s Armory Show
The piece has the slickness of a dystopian IKEA catalog spread and recalls
by way of
. It’s a departure in style for 30-year-old Citarella, whose altered photographic works have often focused on abstract textures or found images—and whose projects on the internet have involved hawking assisted-readymades on Etsy with collaborator Brad Troemel.
But SWIM’s canny blend of analog photography and digital trickery offers fresh potentials for the artist. He says the fictional future-self-portrait represents “the way I want to work” and envisions scaling up similar compositions into many-paneled installations.
Irreverent, and not without a dash of humor, the piece appeals in its immediate accessibility, despite being grounded in deep research and economic theory. Citarella talks exuberantly about the books that have inspired him, including Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek’s Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (2015).
“When the election happened,” he says, “every artist on earth took a moment to think, ‘How do I respond to this?’” Citarella’s own response is pointed, whipsmart, and sickly entertaining: a monstrous vision that feels all too plausible.