Culture of Desire (1997-1998)
Conceived and Directed by: Anne Bogart
Created and Performed by: SITI Company
A new play asks crucial questions about what it means to live in our times. It is a reflecting pool in which we can see ourselves from different perspectives. The question at the heart of Culture of Desire is about consumerism. Many of us live in a constant state of desire for things: objects, wealth, fame. When did we transform from citizens of the United States of America to consumers of the United States of Amnesia? What does it mean personally, politically and spiritually to be treated as a lifetime consumer? How does it effect us to be born into a culture where the fulfillment of desire through the abnegation of individuality and responsibility is the norm? What does it do to a person to be treated as a consumer and not as a citizen?
In shaping Culture of Desire , Andy Warhol and the culture that created him was our access to this significant theme. He was and remains true to where the culture of desire has brought us. Andy Warhol made art from the present moment. He fetishized our culture and our desire and created art from it. Warhol became our metaphor and central figure because he projected the vast emptiness that reflects us profoundly.
The structure of Culture of Desire loosely follows Dante's journey through "The Inferno." In the middle of his life, Dante finds himself lost and disoriented. His hero, the poet Virgil, appears and offers to guide him through hell. Dante accepts and the adventures begin.
Following the allegory of Dante through hell, the scenes for Culture of Desire were written and staged collectively by the SITI Company. The text is drawn from many sources including Dante's "Inferno," interviews with Andy Warhol and his contemporaries, writings on consumer culture, magazine articles and advertisements.
-- Anne Bogart