The glittery, gold palm trees and spinning lights of Candice Jacobs’ Pleasure Seekers could easily be a slice of television studio set for a primetime game show.
Jacobs’ contribution to Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf makes up hole number 6 of the artist commissioned crazy golf course. Jacobs’ piece is a commentary on capitalism and the exploitation of collective human desires.
It reminds me of the surrealism and dark undertones of a David Lynch narrative. The piece is so enticing, and yet it leaves you feeling somewhat perturbed. The blue and white stripes on the base draw you in towards to the back, towards the coveted hole where to aim your shiny, red golf ball (specially designed for EM15). You would be forgiven for thinking that if you scored a hole-in-one a **BRAND NEW TOP-OF-THE-RANGE KETTLE AND TOASTER SET!!** would mysteriously elevate from a secret trap door. We don’t desire brand new kitchen appliances and yet the idea of winning such prizes excites. We want to be a collector of kettles because it means we are winning at life.
The depthlessness of the 2-dimensional glitter-adorned palm trees evokes such baseless desires. It’s smoke and mirrors. It looks pretty so we want it, whilst all along, we know full well our lives won’t benefit from material goods.
Jacobs’ statement on consumerism strikes an unnerving chord with me as I have become accustomed to Venice. Venice is beautiful. In the weeks leading up to coming here, people I know who have been here before told me it was like “being on a film set” or “being in a painting.” Such evocations suggest a beauty like no other, and yes, whilst Venice is undoubtedly picturesque, what people don’t tell you about is the unrelenting tourism. You can’t turn a corner without being hit with the opportunity to buy an “authentic” Venetian souvenir – take home a masquerade mask, or a model gondola. You can put these ornaments on your shelf at home just to prove to people that you’ve been places and you’ve seen things.
Venice is clearly steeped in history and yet, to unearth it, you feel you must dig your way through the glitter and plastic magnets (for your brand-new fridge that you won from a crossword puzzle). I can’t deny that I love it. I want the tea towel and the tacky postcards. I like THINGS and I like buying them – I have become conditioned into thinking I need this stuff. And that’s probably why, out of all nine holes at Fishbone’s crazy golf course, I was most drawn to Jacobs’ starry, shiny palm trees.