Text by Terence Sharpe
Mass production is considered to be the second iteration of industrial revolution. It is the link between production and commerce where intentions beyond capital are not clearly defined. It has led to the ability to manufacture anything, at any scale. The ACME corporation comically developed weapons, imposing the might of the arms industry on children. The name ACME denotes the Greek expletive “ἀκμή” – an utterance that can be extrapolated to most extreme point of something. It alludes to the extent that things can go, when it rains it pours. And no matter how bad you think things are they can always be worse. The potentiality of horror is constantly on the horizon. Ultimately it is the death of the sun, the solar catastrophe. Today we find it in the simultaneously accelerated and decelerated frenetics of the everyday, the mandatory entrepreneurialism and lexapro/modafinal-induced cognitive inertia of every moment.
Patrick Berubé takes these absolutes and their discontents into careful consideration in Autrement Dit…. In a time when infinite iterations of realities exist, truth is a baroque abstraction. Our interpretation of the world is a series of dramaturgy, one act after the next. Berubé conveys this in his installation through exposing the viewer only to certain aspects of the work at certain time, it can never be viewed all at once. The setting is the place of concentrated anxiety, the meditative zone of contemplation where we’re constantly alone together, intensified through 21st Century non-time that impairs our ability to tell one scene from another.
The ubiquitous obsession of desire, compulsory strategising, scrum managerialism, downer haze, self-image and networked faith of the commons tragically contribute to the decimation of creative thinking – all this is dramatised to absurdity in this installation. Berubé distills Spinoza’s declaration that there is no such thing as free will. The more free we appear to be, the more entrenched in suppression we actually are. There is a rational buddhist reflection in this installation – that the pursuit of what the past should have been and the dwelling on what the future should be a artificially imposed precariousness that are laughable once you apply logic. The drives are the ultimate curse of our existence, and you’ll spend your fleeting moment wrestling with them.
So take your kids to daycare, go to the waiting room, go to the gym, go back to your all-purpose desk, all the time subdued by the low-level anxiety that you aren’t reaching every target, everywhere all the time. In this installation you will find a manifestation of the pathetic attempt to escape death, the one thing we are actually all driven towards. As you stare at yourself in the mirror at the gym there is diametric opposition of peace and self-disdain that causes you to question the symmetry of your face, flushed and slightly aroused. The endorphins and adrenaline give you a sense that you are, in this 12-month subscription room, in total control of your being. You can attain your geometric figure of pure beauty. If only you could see the joke. To quote one of the great thinkers of our time “True luxury is the absence of all desire.”