Efficiency, Calculability, Predictability and Control—these are the core principles of the fast-food industry as were defined by the sociologist George Ritzer in the late twentieth century. According to Ritzer, the same homogenising qualities that had already infiltrated fast food chains had quickly taken hold of most facets of society, including institutions and organisations. Of course, Ritzer’s line of thinking had already been explored decades earlier by countercultural groups including the Italian Radical Designers of the 1960s, whose works described the standardising effects of globalisation.
In On Hold Opus Number 1, Narelle Desmond poses the question: what implications do standardisation, as outlined by Ritzer, have on our present day understanding of the world – especially when we consider the experimental and radical attitudes of makers from the 1960s in retrospect? The exhibition embodies a waiting room, a space where everything seems to be derived from another era, but no one really notices or cares. As sociologist Mark Fisher puts it, “cultural time has folded back on itself.” Indeed, here time appears to be stagnated.
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