Originally created for a solo-exhibition at Franklin Artworks in Minneapolis.
I Am is a video installation examining marketing, demographic segmentation, psychographics and identity in this, the age of the focus group. The installation consists of eight video monitors arranged in a circle. Each monitor faces outward and displays a close-up shot of ethnically diverse people. Each individual recites their various demographic, psychographic, lifestyle and brand affinities. These views offer a glimpse into a marketers perception of individuality. We see ourselves as individuals, yet in the end we are categorized, niched and reduced to our basic demographic makeup.
We see ourselves as individuals, yet in the end we are categorized, niched and reduced to our basic demographic makeup.
Market segmentation conveniently breaks us up into groups, clusters, lifestyles and niches. Am I Patrick Maun, artist, or simply one of the VALS 2 Systems’ Actualizers (a healthy 8% of the U.S. population), which also pegs me as an APT High-Brow Puritan, psychographically speaking (a healthy 8.1%). All the while living in the #10 PRIZMS cluster, aptly called Bohemian Mix Neighborhood, much like the 1% of my demographically similar fellow Americans.
For the past several decadexz, I have worked in both advertising and design. During this time, I have come to both admire and fear marketing. I have utilized targeted demographics to sell everything from luxury cars to cat litter. I have sat on the other side of the glass in countless focus groups, reviewed numerous systems of segmentation, and designed to “enhance brand equity”.
After the initial exhibition, further versions were created for shows at Carelton College’s Perlman Museum and at a pop-up gallery in North Minneapolis.