Joe Magee, Alistair Gentry: Hypnomart

  • ©, Joe Magee and Alistair Gentry, Hypnomart



Artist(s) and People Involved:



Artist Statement:

    Hypnomart depicts the rituals of shoppers as observed by security cameras in a shopping mall. The artists have used this covert footage as source material for their own manipulations of unsuspecting consumers. In these comprehensively surveilled and clinical retail environments tiny gestures are magnified and transmit virally through the crowd. Are the shoppers in Hypnomart just buying things or are they fulfilling other, more primordial needs? Observing people as they go about their shopping often reveals an apparent state of hypnosis; malls are designed to be (or at least appear) contained and safe. The proliferation and awareness of cameras heightens the sense that one is on a set, and on display. Is this justified surveillance or authoritarian voyeurism? Whether the subjects of surveillance are shopping in a trance or enacting compulsive rituals for the cameras, sometimes they align themselves in patterns like microbes or herds, or create dances that last mere seconds.  Characters were selected from hours of DV footage and removed from their original environments to generate loops of movement and behaviour. The mall was then re-populated to create a bizarre yet logical new environment. Sampled sounds from the mall were similarly selected, manipulated and reorganized. The film was entirely made by digital means. It was first broadcast on British national television in November of 2001.


    The film was commissioned by the Arts Council of England and Channel 4 Television.