jack toolin
Continental Drift

Continental Drift speaks to the decline in Western economic power as countries in Asia and the southern hemisphere (the so-called BRIC countries) acquire greater economic power. The images largely feature white male businessmen as they have been the beneficiaries of the concentration of wealth in the 20th century. They are indeed iconic for this wealth. And they are also iconic for the inequitable distribution of social and political power that has accompanied their elevated position.

Over the last four or five decades, due to recessions, a regressive political climate, a progressive social climate, and a shift from national to transnational corporate practices, the status of this social class has been shaken. While these changes were economically inevitable and socially necessary, they nevertheless created a wake of disaffection. Continental Drift features these businessmen at moments of introspection, distraction, exasperation as a means of documenting and commenting upon this significant change.

This project is part of my ongoing interest in the relationship between individuals and larger economic, cultural and political systems. Important influences have been writers such as C. Wright Mills, David Harvey and Manuel Castells, and artists such as Lewis Hine, Guy Debord and Hans Haacke.