In 2018, Nike launched the ‘Dream Crazy ’ campaign, starring Colin Kaepernick. The American athlete gained relevance by kneeling during the American anthem, in protest against police violence on the African-American population. It is estimated that the company increased its sales by 31% in subsequent months and, although Nike was not a pioneer, it managed to make the term “conscious marketing” collect numerous articles trying to understand the strategy behind ‘Dream Crazy’.
‘Conscious marketing’, describes certain advertising campaigns that make visible social issues that are very relevant today, such as feminism, racism and political division. At the same time, the expression ‘woke washing’ emerged in response to this phenomenon, arguing that they are nothing more than empty spectacles. They argue that these campaigns seek to connect with a younger and politically aware audience, and that they are born from questionable business models and desire for economic profit. Not surprisingly, it is estimated that an 81% of ‘millennials’ in the US prefer brands with an articulated political message.
This sculptures connect different icons used by the Catholic Church with different campaigns that could well be defined as ‘woke washing’. It is well known that, upon reaching new territories, the different Christian croupiers adhered the existing pagan symbols to their creed and their own imagery. It was an exercise of sacralization of these ungodly beliefs and, at the same time, a master movement of communication and dissemination. The bestiaries and myths were not set apart or forgotten. They maintained their identity within the new belief system that now was able to spreead its message through familiar and recognizable icons.
For example, some voices point that the papal mitre has its origin in the ancient Sumerian priests. They used a fish head as hat, from which a fish tail fell to the ground and formed the god Dagon, whom these ancient civilizations worshiped. The fish-shaped mitre continued to be used by Roman emperors, high priests of the Empire. Centuries later, with the adoption of Christianity, the Pope succeeded the Emperor as high priest and retained the miter that gave him this position, preserved to this day. The fish head became the identifier of the leader of the church for all these three civilizations.
Are these targeted campaigns so novel? After all, they seem to be nothing more than mechanisms that companies use to adapt to new times. They seek to connect their products to the sensibilities of new generations and achieve better communication with their customers, so they can market their products. Nike and the Church, like the animal species in their evolution, develop appearances that allow them to survive and be understood as the surrounding environment changes.
Plaster, resin, pants, oil, chocolate scent
Since the Vietnam prostest in the US in the 1960s, camouflage-patterned garments have been a context generator for several cultural movements, from skinheads, to Carhartt, to Raf Simons.
Cast polyurethane foam, putty, oil and acrylic paint
Cast polyurethane foam, putty, oil paint, chocolate scent
The ‘Unity’ chocolate was launched by Cardury´s India in 2019. It was intended to include the entire spectrum of skins present in the human species, giving representation to all races.
Atlas was a charachter from the Greek mythology, which was later use in romanesque Christianism to represent the value of sacrifice. Corbels with the image of Atlas can be seen in certain European churces, holding the weight of their roofs.
In 2017 Dove engineered the ‘Natural Beauy ’campaign. They launched different bottle shapes that sought to represent the different types of women body. In an exercise that resulted in a sort of ‘industrial designed primitive venus’, the company developed their version of feminity under their brand aesthetic.
Almost forty years later, Ana Mendieta made a sculptures series seeking to turn her sand drawings into an object.
Cast plaster, Dove shampoo