Today, many of us are driven by the fantasy of a golden age: a utopia in which there is an abundance of resources, available to all. We strive to gain as much wealth as possible, happily take part in mass consumption, and aim to live in as much comfort as possible.
But is this fantasy as good as it looks? In the trilogy Golden Age Igor Cardellini and Tomas Gonzalez question the foundations of our capitalist and globalized society. This is done through a guided tour: during SPRING, spectators visit shopping center Hoog Catharijne in the way tourists stroll through archeological sites. Elsewhere, other editions of this project take place in banks and administrative offices.
These everyday places normally escape our attention, although places like these embody the capitalist forces that shape our contemporary world. Based on the architecture of these buildings, which can be found in any city, the three visits form an archaeological trilogy of the present. The trilogy focuses on three major points inside capitalism’s recent history: consumption for the shopping mall, finance for the bank, and wage labor in the office.
The tour will reveal the depths of our post-industrial Western societies. In the tour, particular attention is paid to the relationship between the local and the global. Once we become visitors and spectators of the shopping mall, different layers of that space come to our eyes. Is it a commercial space which hijacks the public space, or is it a commercial space which becomes a public space again? Are we being controlled or do we control the space? Do we make choices or follow suggestions? Golden Age helps to look critically on our daily steps and choices, but also embraces contemporary life and the way we live it.
Tomas Gonzalez (SUI) studied Arts and Humanities at the University of Lausanne and graduated from the University of Performing Arts, Manufacture-HEARTS, where he has been teaching since 2018. His research focuses on the processes of copying, imitation and reactivation. He also works with directors such as Jérôme Bel, Milo Rau, Yan Duyvendak, Stefan Kaegi, Mohammad Al Attar and Sara Leghissa as an artistic collaborator.
Igor Cardellini (SUI) graduated from the University of Lausanne in Anthropology, Sociology and Political science. His research focuses on established power relations and the way in which performative devices allow them to be questioned and open up ways towards their subversion. He writes for several Swiss newspapers and is a member of the committee of the Belluard Bollwerk festival. In 2022-23 he is resident at the Istituto Svizzero in Rome. Through queer perspectives, he explores monstrous human figures and the political dimensions of the body, drawing inspiration from Roman statuary.