„The Influencer” by Chris Kippenberger

Wer hat heute noch Einfluß und worauf? Wer wird zum Influencer gemacht und wen interessiert das? Chris Kippenberger – Petrol-Head, Künstler, King of Car-Porn – arbeitet sich an den blank polierten  Image-Projektionen der Automobilindustrie ab. Und blickt ins Leere.

The Influencer

by Chris Kippenberger


Gone are the days when the best thing you could do for your brand was taking out a full-page ad. Gone are the days of convincing yourself that pulling off elaborate productions would gain you the recognition that you deserve, the days where age-old templates prove themselves time and time again, the days where the brand was the voice of authority. If it’s always worked, why reinvent it?

It isn’t anything new. It’s already a multibillion-dollar industry – the model has been around, we’re just becoming cognizant of it now. A shift so subtle that hardly anyone realized it. We’re redistributing voice, taking it out of the hands of the brand, and placing it somewhere more covert. Playing hide and seek with desires by finding an inconspicuous source of authority. An unassuming actor, playing out your aspirations on demand. They don’t need to be well known. They can be, but they don’t need to be. They need to be trusted. They need to know their audience, and they need to play to that public. Secrecy is a virtue, but in delicately considered measure.

Ownership is being redefined, and we’re bearing witness. Traditionally, permanence has been an indicator of status – it’s yours if it’s there to stay; if it’s there to stay, it’s yours and only yours. Material monogamy. With permanence and accompanying status came manufactured responsibility – the subservience to repercussions, the inability to flee. What’s done was done. New ownership is ephemeral. The pessimistic call it a façade, false pretense, a mirage, a mere simulacrum. The optimists call it pragmatism, restraint, cunning, populism. Rent a car, rent a house, rent experiences for the weekend. Enjoy it, impart that to others, and give the tangible back. The physical may be gone, but the effects are lasting. A reality has been created, packaged for distribution, and sold as authenticity. 

You can’t please everybody, but you sure can try.

The actors in these vignettes are the products, selling themselves first. Whether relatable or aspirational, the buy-in is to the lifestyle – the accoutrement to that reality are ever so deliberately placed, maximizing their potential to subconsciously embed. It’s the long sell. It’s quantity over quality. It’s the ad campaign next door, and the ethos that that more isn’t more. Diminishing returns is a pervasive concept. What is an audience of millions going to do if that audience doesn’t feel invited to engage? The audience feels complicit in, part of, an entity within the narratives of commerce being shaped.

The spotlight has been shifted. Responsibility has changed hands, and everything is now a personal endorsement. The fear of offending mounts from all directions. You are nothing if your trustworthiness is challenged. Every word is a chance for them not to like you. You can’t please everybody, but you sure can try. That’s your livelihood, you can’t sabotage it.

One-dimensionality is the only solution – personalities must become pared down, giving detractors less and less to grab onto. For every solution, there is an equation. That formula has been worked out, fulfilled, picked up on, and adopted en masse. Everyone is following the same set of instructions, so everyone is getting the same result – one breeding the same sterilized, homogenous, anti-critical voices in a world that thrives on the opposite. Everything becomes circuitous, and efficiency becomes ugly. Likes aren’t checked by dislikes – the childhood adage “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it” is taken in earnest. 

Concepts of authenticity are there to be challenged. Our capacities for critical thinking are consistently being tested, asked to do the heavy lifting of filtering the genuine from the engineered. The construct of suggestibility is regularly stripped to its components in pursuit of the genuine. The heartfelt is more valued than ever before, you just have to identify it. 

#spon #ad #partner

You are the influencer.

Text by Chris Kippenberger

Video “Miami” by Studio Kippenberger


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