After identifying the Hummer as the icon of American aspirations in the early 21st century, artist and filmmaker Jeremy Dean set out to deconstruct it. Inspired by the ingenuity of a previous generation of Americans who, in the face of the Great Depression, retrofitted their early model automobiles into horse drawn buggies, known as “Hoover Carts”, Dean re-imagines a future for this emblem of conspicuous consumption in a climate of faltering prosperity.
Dean drew inspiration for the title of his series of pimped out cars and buggies, Back to the Futurama from the General Motors ‘Futurama’ exhibition at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The popular exhibit featured a series of miniature dioramas that promoted personal automobile ownership and an expansive trans-national highway infrastructure as the key to securing the American dream. For a generation raised without, it was a dazzling, inspirational vision of unprecedented material security. In returning to the ‘Futurama’ half a century later, Dean invites us to consider if aspirations of that American dream are still sustainable in the new millennium.
Referencing the past, while looking towards the future, Dean’s vision asks us to question the legacy of our material excesses. “If we don’t rethink our reliance on a hyper-inflated, consumption-based oil economy, we may be left with no other options than to hook our cars up to a horse. This is an exploration of historical amnesia, the culture of excess, financial collapse, sustainability and the future, through leather, steel, and chrome.”
About the Artist
A graduate of Flagler College and University of Nations, Dean is an artist whose work in every medium has continually centered on the intersection of social, political, and economic themes. Dean’s 2004 film, Dare Not Walk was nominated for numerous awards, including a 2009 NAACP Image Award and garnered an Audience Choice Award at the ASU film festival.