A closer look at Gursky’s panoramic view of consumerism
SFX: Traffic, street sounds.
We’ve all been in one of these stores before, right? Photographer Andreas Gursky said when he drove by this 99 Cent store in Los Angeles, it called to him.
SFX: Screech of brakes. Rapid footsteps approach. Door swings open to the interior of a 99 cent store. Musak. The murmur of customers, the clatter of carts, and the monotonous chirp of a register, ringing up the same amount, over and over and over…
Let’s pull back for a minute, and think about all these little packages and where they actually come from…
SFX: A steam-whistle blast — a factory floor, industrial sounds
NARRATOR: All this stuff. All of it made by…somebody. In a factory churning out mountains of packages like these. The packages travel on huge container ships across the ocean.
SFX: Clang of a container hitting the dock, its doors swing open. For the next section, a building sea of sounds piling on top of each other — shipping sounds, plastic wrapping, the chugging of a ship through the sea, workers offloading, the beeping of a forklift, etc. until it all becomes an unintelligible cacophony.
— each containing boxes! Boxes full of boxes!
SFX: Beep of a forklift backing up. Crack of a crate being pried open
With smaller boxes inside them, and inside those boxes —
SFX: Boxcutter zipping through cardboard. Various hard tiny objects spill onto a vinyl floor.
Brightly colored candy, tiny plastic toys, flimsy disposable goods. And Gursky captured it here …
SFX: Back to the 99 Cent Store interior
…in all its dazzling excess, neatly stacked and ready for purchase. All for the low, low price of… you guessed it.
SFX: Chirp of the register
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