Following on from his vaguely controversial video art piece Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright (13th September 2013), Asad Yawar has once again turned his lens to the theme of post-financialisation consumerism. ‘Late’ Capitalism: Always Read the Label sees Yawar depict the London branch of M&M’s World, arguably a cultural equivalent of the United States’ Embassy which sits proudly and unmistakably in Leicester Square, the tourist epicentre of the United Kingdom’s capital city.
In a similar fashion to the global financial industry, M&M’s underwent ‘deep’ globalisation in the early 1980s, successfully making the transition into new markets from its base in New Jersey: the first, exterior shot represents this reality. As Yawar moves further into M&M’s World, the artificial facade of a ‘spokescandie’ dressed in a Queen’s Guard uniform gives way to a branded but otherwise generic teddy bear. The turning of the bear’s label in the final shot to reveal the bear’s country of manufacture is likely to be a metaphor for outsourcing; at a time of relatively high wages in East Asia the overtones of abnormally cheap labour are not as pronounced as they once might have been, but they remain highly germane.