Pencil on graph paper
18 x 18
Abbi Torrance makes intricate drawings which explore the primacy of structure or agency in
human behaviour. Do individuals act independently or do recurrent patterned systems control the
choices available. Control is pervasive. We have learnt from early psychology experiments that
we are easily manipulated by authority and even lie to ourselves to fit in with the crowd.
In capitalist societies the individual is regarded as a subject endowed with being a self-conscious
responsible agent, whose actions can be explained by his or her beliefs and thoughts. This is
acquired within the structure of established social practices, which impose on the individual. We
are influenced by societies ideologies at an early age through family, school, church, government,
media and advertising. Herbert Marceuse said ‘a comfortable, smooth, reasonable, democratic
unfreedom prevails in advanced industrial civilization, a token of technical progress. The uncritical
and conformist acceptance of existing norms of structure and behaviour is one-dimensional
thinking’. Today, we live our lives to a predetermined formula prescribed by powerful global
companies, whose only aim is to make a profit. The government’s neoliberal ideological program
seeks to subordinate culture to the imperatives of business.
Taking as a starting point the way that large corporations see us as samples, data, markets and
demographics, Abbi reuses choreographed formations appropriated from synchronised swimming
to highlight the current social landscape. The abstract mappings of social networking diagrams
link the formation drawings to each other, in such we are reduced to a pattern.