my pieces at the parallel worlds group show (a real gem of a critical studies class)
“Each chapter in Phillip K. Dick’s Ubik begins with snippets advertising a variety of products (salad dressing, coffee, undergarments) each with the same name Ubik; this refers to the ubiquity of both the products as well as their advertising. The book was published in 1969, so the snippets still maintained a kind of 1950s-era advertising optimism. In theorizing what the present-day Ubik might be, the most relevant answer I could suggest were the products hopping onto the green-movement bandwagon. There are huge ecological and economic problems facing the planet, and the past 20 years of “green-consumerism” (especially the last decade) has actually left consumers with a kind of green fatigue as well as a myopian outlook on these very problems.
Five Lysol-brand household cleaners were used as the basis for my Ubiks. I chose not to use any “green” brands, as most “green” products are not in fact “green” at all, so mine were purposefully not. Additionally, the actual Ubik in the book is a kind of cure-all spray, so the significance using a spray bottle seemed obvious. They were each painted an even shade of green, to actively green-wash my products. I used a geometric sans serif typeface for the logotype since it is a commonly-used style for household cleaners. Also, two leaves were added beneath the logotype (a common signifier of many “green” products, using symbols of nature in their graphic language). The classic recycle symbol and the four separate “certified” stickers were added to note the ambiguity of green products. Often these “certified” claims are not awarded by legitimate third-party organizations, or will only encompass a single element in the product (the packaging, a single ingredient, etc). Also, with the recycle symbol, it is often not clear which part of the product is recycled, or how the consumer is supposed to recycled it, or if the process by which it was recycled was actually a green-practice.”