At first, I didn’t know what I was looking at. I was scrolling through Blocket, looking for second hand garden furniture, and every so often these strange images would appear — were they spacecraft? Prosthetic medical devices? Advanced agricultural machinery? I looked closer, clicked through to read more, and found I was looking at jacuzzis, or spa baths. I started taking screenshots and collecting the images, and they soon became a recurring motif in my work.
Their weirdness fascinates me, their eroticised, sinister hybrid of organic and technological, feminine and masculine — breast and buttock-like moulded shapes, studded and penetrated by shiny metallic nozzles, primed to spurt forth jets of frothy liquid. For objects so focussed on comfort and pleasure, they are quite frightening looking things, evoking Cronenberg’s body horror and the nightmarish post-human hybrids of HR Giger; and like JG Ballard’s slow motion car crashes they simultaneously titillate and repel.
But in reality the glossy sci-fi surfaces are misleading. It’s not intergalactic space travel that they promise, but something much earthier — the tawdry sex, champagne and hot tub selfies of bourgeois suburbia. As they multiply over villa decks like a virus, they become symbols of northern Europe’s rightward (and inward) drift, from utopian post-war social democracy into narcissistic neoliberalism — with all the personal greed and empty consumerist display that comes with it.