In this new project, inspired by Slavoj Zizek’s semiotic account of John Carpenters 1988 sci-fi classic “They Live”, the artist combines the actual ‘first life’ City's Nisantasi Shopping Mall in Istanbul with a deconstructed derelict shopping mall in the virtual world of Second Life. Through a live video link between first and second life, the installation allows both real and virtual life visitors/customers to converse, interact and confront the consumption driven aesthetic and architecture of contemporary shopping spaces.
The installation in Second Life depicts a shopping mall in ruin that reflects the current global economic 'credit crunch', as the last bastion of the consumer driven Western economy. Instead of shops, logos and brands of consumption, the shoppers of the virtual world are presented with semiotic instructions such as 'buy', 'pay' and 'desire' etc. that evade the subliminal messages we are presented with in today’s shopping centers.
By placing large format public video screens in both the second and the first life shopping centers, the artist creates a portal between these two parallel worlds through which the shopping driven world of Second Life meets our consumer-obsessed society of first life. While the online consumers in Second Life wander the escalators of the crumbling mall in search of answers to our economic future, the offline consumers in City’s Nişantaşı question their existence and desire to consume an imposed identity.