Short bio: Marc Falzon (b. 1987, Miami Beach, FL) graduated the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 with a concentration in Photography. His work explores the way individuals and society consume; be it historical references, religious iconography, products and services, food, media, and impersonal relationships formed over the internet. Falzon is now producing work of Chinese consumer culture, and currently works in NY, NY.
Why do you photograph on film? I shoot large format. This medium forces me to slow down my process, and examine my surroundings critically. There is little room for error. Not only are the costs prohibitive, but I can only carry so many sheets on me at any given time. I must make sure that the image I am making is how intention down to every corner of the frame. I believe this in turn makes my work more successful. Of course, this medium also provide many technical benefits including dynamic range, printing size, and color range.
What is your work about? Many images of emptied and ornate shopping malls have begun to populate the internet. During my time living in China, I found the bleakness depicted in these images complicated and misleading. The shopping districts in many cities proved to be bustling centers that provided an ornate and refreshing, though illusionary, landscape. Similar to a gothic nave basked in light, these grandiose districts and interiors offered hope and encourage a new mode of thinking. For many Chinese, this Western consumerism provides a welcome contrast to the cold realities of poverty, thick smog and claustrophobic living conditions that lay just beyond the revolving glass doors. My colonial perspective is more critical of these spaces. Where in the States people are overwhelmed with choices, even experiencing shopping fatigue and detachment; where in China there is a sense of relief, joy, and encouragement to be found. One can escape reality into the Western promise. This is a place where Pizza Hut is a trusted, middle class eatery with cocktails and appetizers. Where one can find consistency in products. Where air conditioning is to be found in the swampy summers. This all comes at grave expenses: the demolition of historical landmarks, heavy pollution and a bubbling construction economy; not to mention the scars to country’s psyche. The myth is still largely veiled. This veil is a tapestry, however — it inspires wonder in those who experience it. Here the implicit promise of capitalism is offered, but is that promise a lie? In my word, I focus on examining this veil.