2 a.m. 2022
38 x 84 in
Watercolor on paper, walnut frame

This is an ongoing series of large watercolor works on paper. Each is a collaged landscape from a Ford archive containing adverts from the 1920s until today. The vast landscapes represented in the commercials speak to the capitalist desire to consume "space" as a generic commodity, both fragmenting and flattening natural, cultural, and geopolitical differences. Advertising is thus explored as an aesthetic technology – an assembly line for organizing the subjective imagination. Made in watercolor as the material used to render early Ford advertisement. The series, furthermore, juxtaposes the archival imagery with another kind of assembly line: the post-Fordist network comprised by Amazon Mechanical Turk workers; a global crowd-sourcing labor platform organized by Amazon by enlisting thousands of "click-workers" who work from home for meager wages. This watercolor series is an exploration of the contradictions between the Fordist dream of upward mobility – with its seemingly endless individual consumerist expansion – and the post-Fordist reality of a global labor force that is exploited through immobility, isolation, and underpayment. The AMT workspace is Hunter Keels who has worked for Amazon Mechanical Turk for a few years now. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and kids.
Sources: Lincoln Continental, Ford Motor Company, 1961; Thunderbird, Ford, 1966; Ford Fairmont Futura, 1978; Ford Bronco, 2021

Included in exhibition: Quiet as It’s Kept, Whitney Biennial
Other works in this series

Image courtesy of the artist