Bob Snead presents ‘Means of Production’

Rashida Otunba and Rashida Otunba

If you have strolled through the Center for Art and Theatre recently you may have noticed the convenient addition of a dollar store in the Georgia Southern Art gallery.

New Orleans-based artist Bob Snead will be at GSU to discuss this piece as part of his new installation tonight at 5 p.m. in room 2071 of the Center for Art and Theatre Visual Arts Building.

Snead, who is originally from Charleston, South Carolina, is a graduate of the College of Charleston, and has had his art exhibited in New York and New Orleans. He earned his Masters of Fine Arts in painting and printmaking from Yale, and is also a part of the national board for the Field of Artist Projects and Spaces.

The installation features a makeshift dollar store, a factory-style conveyor belt, two interactive ATM machines and a collage of Little Debbie boxes. All are handcrafted by Snead and fashioned from industrial remains and shipping material, some of which are from his local dollar store.

‘Means of Production’ is meant to draw attention to the diminishing manufacturing industry in the United States and highlight how it impacts producers and consumers.

The installation also focuses on the loss of handmade material and seeks to focus attention on the process put into forming the items that we buy and consume each day from raw materials that may have been shipped abroad and processed before making their way back to American consumers.

The commercial-industrial market has shifted greatly in the last 10-20 years and we are starting to feel these shifts on both national and local levels. There is an awareness of corporate and consumer spending as companies build factories abroad to mass produce items and ship them back to the United States to be sold at a cheaper rate, Marc Mitchell, gallery director for the Betty Foy Sanders Department of Art, said.

One of the most interesting aspects of the installation is the presence of two interactive ATM machines that provide social commentary about the effect the recession has had not only on the industrial market, but also middle class workers.

By touching the screen of one ATM, it begins to talk and acts as a disgruntled ‘security guard’ who ironically orders patrons not to touch the artwork and then begins to initiate conversation.

Upon touch, the other ATM projects a fire while it robotically sings, “I’m on Fire” by Bruce Springsteen, whose music often focuses on the middle class.

The event is free for students, faculty, and guests, and will be followed by a reception. Snead’s installation will be available for viewing in the Center for Art and Theatre gallery until Feb. 21.