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Prisoners (Skin Ritz)

Terry Flaxton

UK, 1984
16 minutes, Colour, stereo
Available formats: DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file
Prisoners (Skin Ritz)

’25 years ago I was asked by Chiatt Day Advertising in Los Angeles to cover the making of ‘1984’ for Apple Computers. This commercial was to be directed by Ridley Scott to introduce the Macintosh to the world. Costing around $1.5 million dollars, ‘1984’ was to make advertising history by being shown only once in the middle of that years Superbowl – a highly prestigious slot – never before had an advert been only shown once. The message of the whole enterprise was: ‘If you miss this, then you’re going to be at a disadvantage’. This sentiment in itself set the tone for the definition of the self at the end of the 20th century, when the self was to be defined by its likes and its dislikes. Prisoners as a work derived from the footage shot during the making of the commercial deals with the problem of ideology, the potential manipulation of meaning and the hotness or coldness of the medium as expressed by McLuhan as well as several other issues. I called this work Prisoners because I was interested in the problem of having a fixed ideology, of having a fixed set of ideas in relation to the world. To use a metaphor: it seemed to me that having sun glasses was useful whilst in the sun, but useless in the middle of the night. So therefore those people depicted in my work, the capitalists, the neo-Nazis, Thatcherites , communists, corporatists and us the anarchists video crew, were all held Prisoner by our own set of beliefs.’ – Terry Flaxton