MODERN SOCIETY seems to be driven by the massive consumption of goods, for all of its consequent impact in ecology. In an attempt to keep up with our peers we desperately want a new pair of shoes, the new mobile device on the market or that cool touch-screen tablet. The crucial question is: do we really need them? Or is it more a question of personal satisfaction to keep up appearances?

Timo Wright’s giant photographic collage was inspired by the book Once Were Consumers: Four Tales From 2023 by Roope Mokka and Aleksi Neuvonen. Wright found out that an average Finnish family owns an estimated 10,000 objects, whereas a student possesses about 3,500. His work, Self-Portrait, illustrates how easily we can become pack rats and presents the question: what do the things I own say about me? Wright’s collection of his own personal “needed” and “non-needed” possessions are all on display in the form of 3,328 documented photographs that cover the exhibition’s walls.

In a journey to discover what kind of consumer he is, visitors to the exhibition will no doubt see their own possessions in a new light when they return home.

For Wright, paradoxically, the most interesting fact happening recently was the volcano eruption in Iceland. “People realised it is possible to use alternative means of transport when flying is not an option.” Buying gives pleasure, which lasts a blink of an eye. Recycling can be as expensive as buying, and not always possible. What is the price we are paying for being greedy? Wright attempts to make the viewers more conscious about the objects they own and to assess the real need of them.

Until 9 May
Taidehalli Studio


First published in the Helsinki Times on May 6th, 2010.


About Susan Fourtané

As a citizen of the world, Susan began her search for her place in the world back at the beginning of the year 2000. After many travels looking for her place in the world, her soul found that place in Finland in September 2006. She has been living in Helsinki ever since, where she combines fiction and non-fiction writing with Philosophy studies and teaching.
This entry was posted in Exhibitions, Helsinki Times, Photography, Published Articles. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Self-consumption

  1. Thanks for the above post. Yes! It is sad that our collections of “junk” continue to build faster than our requirements. Happiness does not come from these collections. Happiness comes from…Thanks again!

    Phil Edwards

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