Checkup: Pharmaceuticals for the 21st Century is a multimedia
art installation that uses satirical humor and the medium
of advertising to speak to its audience about issues that we often
feel uncomfortable talking about outloud; race, sexuality, religious
faith, and politics.
a series of fictitious print ads and TV ads, the pharmaceutical
drugs featured in Annual Checkup promise
to strengthen your religious faith, change your racial identity,
promote sexual abstinence and stimulate patriotic thoughts and
other things. The six fictitious drugs featured in Annual Checkup include:
this tradeshow style installation, the pharmaceutical advertising
format is borrowed in order to serve as a commentary
on the increasingly
popular pill-popping approaches for treating a vast array of physical
and mental health ailments in our culture. The satirical
ads allude to the possibility of an Orwellian future in which pharmaceuticals
also serve as the cure for our social and political 'ills'.
terms of design, I am intimately familiar with the pharmaceutical
language, stemming from my work as a graphic designer for the
interactive division of Harte-Hanks
1997-2001), where the client base consisted of prominent pharmaceutical
Roche, and Hoerst Marion Roussel. I found myself at once appalled
and fascinated at the exorbitant amount of money these companies
spent per year on their advertising budget alone.
absurdity of seeing ads for such fictitious products reflects the
level of absurdity which I see growing in the political, social
and economic mechanisms of our nation. From my perspsective, over the past five years, the atmosphere in the U.S. seems to have morphed
of forced normality, in which people are expected to conform to
the belief that patriotism means unquestioning loyalty and obedience
the leaders of our country.
goal of the ads in Annual Checkup is
to stimulate thought and discussion regarding issues at the forefront
discourse in the United States: freedom to question faith; the
definition of patriotism and citizenship; disparity among racial
and economic groups within our society, choice in issues of morality
and sexuality; and the role that government should or should not
play in all of these issues.
Checkup art installation.
Melvin Art Gallery, Florida Southern College.
Lakeland, Florida, November 2005.