Over and Over (Lady Madonna)

2005

Installation

Fine Arts, Graphic Design

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Allan Espiritu’s Over and Over (Lady Madonna) installation is a commentary about the ubiquitous nature of the celebrity machine in America, and about the seemingly religious influence and adherence that this machine exerts.

Using Madonna as a metaphor for the concept of the celebrity machine, the installation uses objects, methods, and motifs common in the commercial world to explore the nature of the “religion” that this powerful machine produces. A theme that emerges in this exploration is that of the mass production of personality. Additional themes that arise in the installation include: psychological control and the aesthetic of desire; consumption and saturation; materialism and aura.

The installation avoids traditional, pictorial representation, instead employing language and typography as its mode of expression. By taking Madonna’s lyrics out of the context of her songs and placing them within an arena of pure, decontextualized propaganda, the lyrics no longer represent messages about first love; rather, they suggest expressions of love toward media and consumerism. It is this sentiment of the love for consumer culture that implies a sense of religious devotion.

Throughout Over and Over (Lady Madonna), Espiritu references the typographical landscape of American pop culture—the over saturated, hyper-repetitive visual landscape that daily bombards the public with Hollywoodian, commercialistic messages.  The circus-like environment of the installation imitates the everyday media frenzy to which Americans have become accustomed.  The work compels the viewer to accept the parallels between religion and media, provoking the inevitable question: Has media become a religion?