Hold My Hand, 2022
cotton fabric, polypropylene pellets
March 19 – April 2, 2022
QUAID Gallery presents Narcysiphus, a solo exhibition of work by Emiliano Settecasi.
At approximately 9:15 a.m. EDT on July 20, 2021, Jeff Bezos, Executive Chairman of Amazon, crossed the Kármán line on a giant penis-shaped rocket, leaving Earth’s atmosphere and entering outer space. Six months later, a tornado ripped through the side of an Amazon distribution center in Edwardsville, Illinois, killing six workers who were not allowed to leave the warehouse despite receiving emergency warnings ahead of the storm. Since the late 1970s, productivity in the United States has grown 61.8%, yet average hourly pay has only increased 17.5%. In the same amount of time, CEO pay has increased 1,322%. Since the 2008 financial crisis, as most younger workers watched housing, education, and healthcare costs dramatically outpace the amount of money employers were willing to pay them, the response from lawmakers and the capital class has been along the lines of, “something, something, just work harder the house down bootstraps, Lazy.”
Sensing a growing desperation among workers for both a livable income and freedom from the traditional exploitation inherent in worker-owner relationships, in the last two decades, techno-carpetbaggers have been colonizing the internet, creating platforms that posture as tools for navigating the increasingly narrow pathways toward upward socioeconomic mobility in order to incentivise their users to exploit themselves while they collect a nominal fee, mine those users’ data, sell billions of dollars in ads, and skirt the responsibility of providing anyone health insurance. Millions in search of economic liberation have followed, liked, and subscribed to the idea that they could become their own bosses online, and success, prosperity, and happiness were literally at their fingertips if only they posted the right pictures on Instagram, or did the right dances on TikTok, or opened an Etsy store, or started a Youtube channel, or sold their nudes on OnlyFans. And if all else failed they could drive for Uber. Goaded by a professional grifter class of rising and grinding entrepreneoliberals who help market and launder the image of these platforms as rocket ships with stories of their own precarious ascent to evermore rarified air, we hastily accepted the terms of service of this new economy, which now defined the individual as a brand and identity as its product, and obscured the platform’s actual role as both warehouse and tornado.
In Narcysiphus at QUAID, Emiliano Settecasi sells Emiliano. Leveraging insecurity and disability as strategic assets, the artist centers himself simultaneously as subject and commodity to investigate and critique the depths to which the commercialization of oneself at the level required to compete in the contemporary marketplace of identity renders us inert in the face of mounting systemic failures that place the collective future of humans on this planet in grave danger. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, March 19 from 7–10 p.m.
“Ride for your favorite artist like you ride for your favorite sports team”, 2022
custom foam hands, burnt soccer ball, artificial turf
mixed digital media
Trinacria Di Emiliano, 2022
Narcysiphus in Heat, 2022
digital photography collage
acrylic on papier-mâché
Hairy Palm, 2022
acrylic on papier-mâché