go shopping

There had always been images of saints. I never wondered why it had been so. An evening prayer had always been in front of an image. In fact, it had been a prayer to an image only, an image which could either be cheaply bought or had been given away on any occasion. Similar images are ever-present in my life to this day.

Idealized ladies and gentlemen are virtually everywhere. I am surrounded by images. They include a promise of a new, better world, which can be obtained in exchange for a couple of pieces of silver. Not a high price to pay for the entrance into the commercial sacred. But, by doing so, will I regain the peace of mind? Will I become a better man?

Or perhaps it is only for a short while? Perhaps the portrayed “saints” want me to surrender to objects of temporary worship? I am already theirs and setting myself free will not be easy. Surely – socially, it will prove positive. My faith will become more focused on successive “indispensable” goods. With each act of buying, I fuel the economy, hence I am a cogwheel in a huge machinery. Is this the foundation of contemporary faith? Are we to become operated by advertisements, the media, the society or the government? Is this our ideal world conveyed by commercial images?

Today’s images do not promise happiness in another life. It can be bought here and now – all I need to do is to pass through theft detectors and enter the “sphere of the sacred of a shopping mall”. After all, this is where we find all that is needed for our temporal salvation. For the time being! When the new season comes, new attributes of “salvation” will have to be bought. Money must always be circulating. Indeed, just as the Earth revolves around the Sun, we revolve around money.

The New York–based Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has hired Deborah Cullen-Morales as a program officer in its Arts and Cultural Heritage division

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