Between March 24 and April 7 2014 twenty-one billboards in Manchester city centre were displaying text-based artwork that discusses some of the challenges facing consumers of Western progress. The project designed by conceptual artist and graphic designer Micah Purnell hopes to create an open dialogue about issues including identity, fantasy and presence. Thousands of beermats, flyers, posters and badges were accompanying the project and were to be found in bars and pubs around the city during the outdoor exhibition.
The work has been influenced by Oliver James' book Affluenza: There is currently an epidemic of 'affluenza' throughout the world - an obsessive, envious, keeping-up-with-the-Joneses - that has resulted in huge increases in depression and anxiety among millions. Over a nine-month period, best-selling author Oliver James travelled around the world to try and find out why. He discovered how, despite very different cultures and levels of wealth, affluenza is spreading.
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