Investment Ritual

excerpt: full length 29 minutes

Investment Ritual is one of series of eight videos about land reclamation, made for an exhibition in the former Portuguese colony of Macau. Aitchison stands on reclaimed land on the southern island of Macau with a view over the sea to the northern part of the territory where super casinos, also built on reclaimed land, line the waterfront. Dressed in a gold suit and banging a gong, he chants the names of western brands in a ritualistic manner, then concludes by scattering coins on the ground. It’s an ironic ritual that draws attention to both the desire for unabated consumerism and, at the same time, dwindling foreign investment in China. It also points both forwards and backwards; forward to a future of unlimited consumption and backwards to a time of shamanism and belief in supernatural forces. Bringing together all of these tensions in China’s equivalent of Las Vegas, the ritual mirrors the unrealistic yet eternal optimism of the gambler. It is a ritual to make more land rise from the sea through the power of consumption in the face of a sea that is itself rising in no small part due to the consequences of consumerism.