17 January 2012

Mieko Mahi and the Enterprise of Ideology

Abstract pipe rack. Photograph © Mieko Mahi.

I came across this brief notice of work by Mieko Mahi at the web page of ABC News. On her own web page she trumpets herself (putatively in the words of others) as 'the Annie Liebovitz of the oil and gas industry'. That seems apt to me. I've been pretty clear here that Leibovitz is a talented woman who places her efforts at the service of vacuous celebrity. Mahi herself notes that she "caters" to the energy industry in much the same way - producing glossy images to divert attention from the underlying mess. After all, extraction of oil and natural gas is not pretty. I recommend Mahi's work as an example of ideology - how to render the slippery, black, dangerous basis of pervasive degradation, penury, violence and conflict all sparkly and shiny and bright. No wonder the industry types love her work! Interesting too is how the folks at ABC present her beautifying enterprise more or less without comment.

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