Pantone announced their Color of the Year for 2008: Iris Blue. While their annual choice has oscillated between tints of Red and Blue, Pantone Color of the Year for 2007 was a muted Tan. Of course, in fact the color of 2007 was Green. Green for environmentalism, green for sustainability, green for green marketers, green for money. Are color-ers tired of Green? Not yet. Chevy, today for example, was happy to use Green to sell their cars as a way of turning greenbacks into a green solution.
In his book Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy Stephen Duncombe argues for a dreampolitik. One of his analyses traces how right wing politicians and corporate advertisers use outlandish but effective associative logics to create meaning built on emotions. He gives a couple key examples: one is a McDonalds ad with a happy family at a park/zoo, which ends with a golden arches logo. He asks why the associative and emotional logic that connects McDonalds to a happy secure and easy family life, could not be associated otherwise: what if instead of a McDonalds logo, there was a sentence about how public space creates leisure and pleasure for families, or how unions help create the financial basis for secure families. But even here (as I rough his argument) I am getting to literal and logical. He wants it associative.
At first glance, it seems not that different from the AdBusters subvertisement model. That re-imagined McDonalds ad could have a happy home at the AdBusters. But there is a difference, I think. Adbusters' model (in one sentence) is to take an existing ad campaign, and ad new ironic content or context that points out the evilness of the brand, or the empty corruptness of consumerism. This has proven to be an effective model for ironic amusement, preaching to the choir (and regular churchgoers), and creating exercises for Digital Imaging classes in art school.
As I understand it, there are two differences in Duncombe's proposal. First, he wants to use the manipulation of associative logic to sell a dream; he is not interested in (reactionary) irony or cleverness. He is looking (it seems) to take on the tool full force to construct an associative narrative. Second, he is talking about its political use, as broadcast on national TV, not shown in a gallery or in a speciality magazine. He is talking about MoveOn.org buying national TV ads (which as I remember them, always seemed smart in a bitter (reactionary) way: not so dreamy).
So where does that leave the artist?
I'm still thinking about this one, and need to think some more before I write it down.