About 50 years ago branding theories and strategies started to undergo a shift so violent and radical to involve not only the commercial communication sphere but communication as a whole, hence spaces and people involved in any communicative process (this applies to neo-liberal countries). The paradigm shift is perfectly clear: the brand shifts from being a guarantor of the product’s quality to become an “abstract machine designated to the reconfiguration of the product”.
The social consequences are evident as well: the citizen-consumer can affirm his identity only by means of the purchasing power. In the last twenty years, we witnessed the expansion of these strategies from the commercial to the political sphere. Luckily a critical reflection concerning these topics has been developing itself over the past ten years—reflection that involves not only philosophers, sociologists or media theorists, but the artisans of communication too.
Just Do It. Biopolitical Branding is one of the most recent reflections upon this topic, in the form of the publication as well as the exhibition—from 10 to 22 May at the Center for contemporary art & culture in Bucharest. Curated by Simina Neagu, the project sees the participation of Center for Tactical Magic (US), Foundland (NL), Free (UK), Metahaven (NL), The Bureau of Melodramatic Research (RO). Quoting the curator’s words, “far from being a visual manifestation of anti-corporate activism, the works presented fluctuate between protest and over-identification, engaging the viewer in a variety of discourses.”