22 Words

13 dark pieces of satire to make you stop and think

July 6, 2012 | By Abraham | 189 comments

Polish artist Paul Kuczynski will be as depressing as he needs to be to make sure you look at the world differently…

189 Comments

    1. tomk says:

      When the guy finishes burning all the rungs from his ladder he’ll still have two perfectly good poles to vault over the wall!

    1. Jaundicedi says:

      Odd that you should say that. I only see one piece of the set that has a White person obviously behaving badly to non-whites. There is one more that shows a White couple blissfully unaware of poverty, but it does not indicate they are “bad”. Methinks thou protest overmuch. Did your conscience prick you?

      1. AStev says:

        You mean my conscience as an artist who winces when he sees tired clichés? ;)

        Or are you assuming I’m white?

        1. Trollski says:

          Condescending winks are cliché Mr. “artist” ;)

          See how I also added some cliché quotation marks? Wince on AStev.

          1. David Heffron says:

            I don’t see colour. People tell me I’m white because I say things like “why are white people the baddies?”

        2. Causey says:

          the only thing cliche i see here is the over used term ” tired cliches”.

          Its only used to avoid an explanation.

          1. Cody says:

            Nailed it! Or it could also go as far as the enormously tired ‘condescending hipster referring to himself as an “artist”‘ cliché…

      2. Marci says:

        I agree, I think it’s just first instinct to take it as “white people = bad” but if you look at the pictures none of them are really even saying that. The only one that is, is the fist one and it’s using kids to make the juxtaposition even more apparent.

          1. Gawd knows says:

            its not about good, bad or cliché, it is about how the world is, you will stop speaking the truth because it is cliché? 21,000 children die everyday of poverty, but sorry i shouldnt mention this, this is sooo 2005

          2. Sadly says:

            @gawd knows

            Too bad it’s not more, maybe when we overgrow our planet people who cry “Omg, thousands of people died! SO SAD!” will realize that fat, sickly, and stupid people have no place in our world. All they do is take up resources that should be allocated to those who are PRODUCTIVE members of society.

          3. Red_Letterz says:

            “PRODUCTIVE”?! You have embodied the cruel dead puppet nature of a sick story of a lost society. As if money, power, industry, and so called “moving forward” are more important than the lives, conciseness, and love of those you would have thrown away so that you can look in the mirror at your pride of your “productivity” when the only thing that separates you from them is luck of the draw of where you were born. Humans sole purpose on this world is to share life and love. This is productivity in a society. Not wasting humanity away in fear of losing things that are all parts of an infinite circle. Yet even still it is not the dead we should pity but those left behind to suffer, the dead have moved on to their next forms of consciousness while their loved ones face their own loss and continuation of poverty. But this sick elitism of yours is what turns humans against each other. Be it elitism of race, sex, religion, or so called “productivity” it is all the same horrid perspective that should be washed from all society.

          4. David Heffron says:

            We’re arguing on the internet. We probably don’t fall into the PRODUCTIVE section of the Venn Diagram.

          5. Rubicon Crossed says:

            I hope his next painting cleverly sums up the futility of squabbling online, or the contemporary pervading judge panel and performer mentality. Mind you he’s Polish, they’re don’t seem that affected by the ‘must be a smartarse’ ‘the world must know my views’ mentality yet.

          6. A says:

            @Sadly

            I did not ask to be disabled. I did not ask to be broken. Not physically or emotionally. One of your “Productive members” bestowed half of my disability upon me when I was just a child. The other half of my disability I was born with. Each and every day of my life I struggle to move past what my limitations are. Have I made progress? Yes, more than you can imagine. Am I what *you* would consider “productive” yet? Probably not, but God knows I’ve come further already than anyone would have ever given me credit for. My “worth” lies in so much more than money, and I live on with very little of it and happily so. If that’s where your worth ends though, I’m not so sure that I’m really the disabled or “sick” one between the two of us.So, gallop away on that high horse of yours my dear, sweet, little, eugenics troll. I’m sure you will very easily be able to find somewhere that rates your worth much the way you’ve decided mine.

        1. pokidokismoki says:

          the 1st one isn’t saying that white people are bad… it’s showing how children from 2 different cultures see the same object differently. The white kid is playing with his large toy car, but the two non-white kids go to clean it because they don’t understand that it is a toy since they wander the city streets cleaning car windows to make money for themselves/their families.

          1. harry says:

            um,they realize it is a toy car. the rich kid plays at driving a car around, the poor kids play at earning money. The rich kid reacts the way his parents do.

        2. Red_Letterz says:

          The one that show the white man relaxing in luxury upon a hammock made of a colored man’s chains maybe?

          1. Heather says:

            I saw a rich man hanging in a hammock of a working man’s hands. I guess it is all in the perspective…

          2. Annie MacDonald says:

            I agree with Heather.. I saw rich capitalist (race, colour.. immaterial) luxuriating in the restraining chains of a poor worker (race, colour, sex.. immaterial).

          3. Rob says:

            Huh. I saw it as a commentary on tobacco use. He is “relaxing” with an addictive substance. But his relaxation is dependent upon his addiction, his chains…

          4. John Murphy says:

            Interesting. I saw it as a condemnation of the for-profit prison industry. Lots of interpretations of that one!

      3. kno says:

        um, i thought all of them were about the evils of white people. idk. a couple were ambiguous. the ladder one was pretty race-less. i don’t think you protest enough.

      4. just2comment says:

        blissfully unaware of poverty? I see people working hard for rice and people wasting rice.. Being blissfully unaware of injustice that surrounds us isn’t good, it is bad.

    2. jo says:

      If these were made 2010-2012 then i would agree with you, because this is when I have started to notice some pretty cleché pieces, but these are dated 2007-2009. I understand that it is a pretty small difference in time but they are still interestingly unique.

    3. James says:

      Yeah seems a bit racist. There are plenty of businessmen, corrupt politicians, tourists, consumers and alcoholics who are not white. Kuczinski’s work does a good job at juxtaposing the contrasting livelihoods surrounding the various subjects, though.

        1. John says:

          Your point? Plenty of people work hard but do not become rich. Working hard does not constitute the feeling of being better than others. Some people are in situations where working hard simply isn’t enough to make their lives much better. Not that I believe all rich people think they are better than others, but living a luxurious life with many un-needed pleasures while others suffer and die from poverty is very selfish no matter how you look at it.

          1. Tyler says:

            Getting and staying rich requires working hard AND making good decisions. Bad habits and ignorance are what make poor people. Well, that and the generally wasteful and restrictive leviathian state.

        2. mcthfg says:

          Rich people don’t hang out on the internet, commenting about how rich they are. I’m pretty sure you don’t know what true wealth is.

          1. Adam Payne says:

            Actually, mc I am absolutely sure you don’t know what true wealth is. Poor people don’t hang out on the internet – because one they don’t have the time – too busy surviving, second – that can’t afford the connection costs.
            But this comment exemplifies what John said.

          2. Lonestar says:

            Maybe poor people in the 3rd world don’t, Adam, but poor people in the 1st world certainly spend a lot of time on the internet.

        1. Satan says:

          Lonestar, 3rd world has nothing to do with wealth and money. It has to do with political stances. First world countries are those that sided with the USA on their stance against Communism. Second world countries are the remaining leftist countries (North Korea, China, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos) and Third World countries are those that just didn’t care enough to pick a side. I know what you mean, however.

          Fail on the world front.

          1. Ttimer says:

            Ummm….. I thought the worlds is how rich a country is.
            1st world – usually the higher technologically advanced and richer countries
            while the 3 world countries are the poorest were they live in lower poverty places.

    4. iwilliam says:

      Is that what you got from these pieces? “white people = bad?”

      Who was it that said “art is a mirror?”

      Either way, perhaps you saw yourself in these ink-blots.

      Or maybe you didn’t see ENOUGH of yourself.

      Does your “art” impress people and move them the way these pieces (obviously) have?

      Or does it satisfy only yourself? Yeah… you’re probably that kind of “artist”… talk about pretentious. lol

      1. Max says:

        There is an extent of race, all the non-race issues that the pictures provoke can still be achieved with ‘identityless’ or cartoon like people.

    5. richit says:

      Let’s see… Rich white kid with Porsche, barefoot colored kids: Rich white industrialist handcuffing the worker: Rich white kid with shoes and train looking at poor kid (maybe Asian) without shoes pulling train: White people throwing rice while Asians pick it up probably to eat, because we all know they are starving: Goofy looking white guy sucking up works of art: Washington full of liars. Makes me think of just typical stereotypes,or the artist has a guilt complex.

    6. Lonestar says:

      Dark satire by (I’m guessing the artist is a) a drunk who has never been to China but has seen enough movies about Chinatown to expect them to work in rice patties with those hats on and suffers from white guilt because his cat eats better than the children in Asia.

    7. A.S. says:

      I totally agree with you, because even the execution of this “art” is nothing to make notice of. Worn out thoughts and symbols that would make absolutely all the semiotics laugh. Good to give to people with no independent thought who would say “wow” to something that is so obvious. Childish, non-contemporary and would fit nicely with the underground rebellion movement of the Soviet Union. Today we have moved on in history, also in art and although these problems still exist, there has to be some effort made to be considered an artist. It’s like copying Jimi Hendrix with a perfect blues guitar solo, but that person is just a good guitar player not an improvisor. This here is not even a good “guitar solo” but a rather shitty one. And if someone attempts to tell me now that the simplicity of this creation is the whole point of this then I would recommend to this person to read Paolo Coelho and keep far away from Dostojevski.

    8. Amy says:

      Dude, isn’t art a medium for political commentary? Isn’t creativity meant an expression of the human consciousness? Of course it’s a tired cliche, because this is a tiring existence.Art is a beautifully boundless way of reflecting our own reality back at us in a way in which we can understand what we wouldn’t normally see. The tiring cliches will end when the realities they are reflecting do.

  1. Kristina says:

    I agree, the “pale people are uniquely evil” theme has been overdone, but many of these images are really powerful. I was especially struck by the prisoner warming himself with the rungs of his ladder.

    1. jakob says:

      this was my favorite too.
      and sth i always say but could never illustrate like this, is that “we” can relax ourselves because other people are treated badly (enslaved, doing health-wasting work…)

      1. corey says:

        It’s not about relaxing or being enslaved. It’s about society and the unfortunate who have to use the tools and resources they could have used to succeed to survive and make ends meet.

        1. Lonestar says:

          Or people who burn ladders to make themselves feel better instead of face the unknown and escape their situation.

      2. Lonestar says:

        “I always say but could never illustrate like this,”

        Thank God.

        Can someone tell me how any of these paintings improved a life in China?

        1. AHodges says:

          These paintings are inspiring a lot of thought, and a lot of conversations about important things. That’s the whole point of art. You don’t have to like it, but it is doing what it set out to accomplish.

      1. Wiggy says:

        Ladder seems to represent freedom, hence the person is imprisoned. “Prisoner of his own mind” or any other kind of prisoner. But instead of using the ladder to escape, the person preferred to warm himself in his prison.

          1. jol says:

            thinking exactly the same! Art is intended for a wide audience, no matter what reaction occurs.

          2. mmoorethanthat says:

            I thought just the same, Marci! It definitely seemed to me as if he felt that he had to choose between comfort in the now vs. later.

          3. mj says:

            I saw it more as: a person who gave up freedom for comfort, ultimately sacrificing his chance for freedom.

          4. Mackie says:

            What if he didn’t understand the purpose of the ladder or the effect of climbing over the wall? He only sees wood and knows the purpose of that wood is to create heat. Computers and the internet are tools that can bring people to other places figuratively speaking. But give my parents a computer and they wouldn’t know what to do with it, probably couldn’t even start it. My Mom simply uses the computer they have as a clock. Their computer is their ladder.

          5. Brian says:

            I saw it differently. no offense to anyone else but I personally think this is what he was portraying. It’s like in society when instead of permanently fixing a problem (walking up the ladder and leaving), a lot of times we just solve the short term immediate problem, ultimately screwing us over later, because we waited to long and used all our resources (the steps on the ladder) or increased our debt. This could relate to our economy, starving countries, or other things I haven’t even though about.

        1. rob says:

          None of you get it. Obviously this person escaped from danger on the other side of the wall by climbing down the ladder and now is comfortable next to a fire. Notice the conspicuous lack of broken ankles. Ladders sure are handy.

    2. bazzoid beeblebrox says:

      Interesting… I saw no prisoner.. just an everyday person whose struggle to escape and aspire – whether it be poverty, work, skills – is consumed by the need to survive or stay in comfort

      1. zhan says:

        I agree with you on that. We dream of achieving greater heights. With them being crushed by the present needs to survive.
        If he had a jacket to keep out the cold or if the weather is less cruel. Climbing up the ladder will only require a little no fear of heights and some moving muscle. Its a choice after all, to craft the definition of the amount of present needs, needed to survive.

    1. Bear says:

      Aye. But the kitteh is not holding the knife nor wearing the blood-stained apron and muck boots. It is he (she?) who is doting on the kitteh and wielding those symbols of ultimate authority. Yet, the kitteh seems to take pleasure in waiting patiently on said butcherjudge instead of pouncing on the chicks et al.

      1. lyone says:

        It seemed to me that the cat was about to be butchered in that one. And all the other animals were standing around to watch.

    2. Nicole says:

      I agree with Chris, below, it is the ridiculousness of our culture to pet a cat and be appalled that some cultures eat what we consider a ‘pet’ while butchering and using other animals as expendable products. Often for the cat itself. Not saying we should eat cats – just don’t be appalled other cultures do.

      1. John Blue says:

        Or get offended when muslims and jews decry eating pigs, or hindus sacred worship of cows

  2. Margot says:

    Living in Florida, I like the one with the camera as a vacuum destroying the beautiful landscape. We have to be careful with “the Garden.”

    1. Tyler says:

      It is trying to say that tourism is a big factor in the destruction of beautiful landscape and monument areas.

      1. Lonestar says:

        Even though the maintenance of those beautiful areas is only possible through the support of tourists…

  3. Ethan says:

    I am unclear as to the bottle and the fish hooks meaning. If someone would care to explain I would much appreciate. Deep works of art none the less.

        1. Mat says:

          i think just imagining it physically makes it interesting. That the hook gets closer to your mouth as you finish the drink and it only reaches you when youre done. I found it interesting how the hook cant reach your mouth on its own but that you are basically forcing it to and doing it by yourself.

  4. Davey says:

    The bottle and the fish hooks symbolizes alcoholism. Habitual consumption of alcohol can get you “Hooked”, so to speak.

  5. JJES says:

    There’s no wrong or right when it comes to analyzing something another person has created. You can say what it means to you or, if you must, what you THINK it means to the creator. No one knows what the person making the art or writing the book meant to say or show. Thinking like this is probably why I had a hard time at school. I used to know a relatively successful songwriter who said that he didn’t mind when people tried to figure out what he was trying to say, but they were usually reading much more into what he wrote than he meant. I guess people want to try to show how smart they are.

  6. thebob says:

    I don’t understand the Washington Monument picture, but I think another body part might have been more appropriate. :)

    1. Tyler says:

      It could also symbolize that a lot of politicians are merely puppets and they don’t express what they actually want.

  7. MadMIke says:

    LOL… Stop concerning about the color of the people… its the politics and the actions is what needs to be noticed in this art not the people

  8. squid says:

    1: illustrates that all habits good or bad rich or poor start early in life
    2: illustrates that the fat cat aka rich never work for their food
    3: illustrates that some people have their noses stuck too far into books aka peoples business to see the real message displayed
    4: illustrates that the chinese may as well be santa clause because they make everything anyway
    5: obviously about addictions particularly alcohol in this painting
    6: illustrating that very few people try to fix the disease of factory pollution
    7: illustrates that the poor are slaves to the rich
    8: illustrates that some people would rather make a fire in the cold dark world rather than just climb out into the sun
    9: illustrates that america is too big of a liar to earn the right to be a real country
    10 illustrates that the well off dont realize that the poor work hard and arent happy
    11: illustrating that beautiful places are being destroyed by tourists wanting a picture
    12: illustrating someone planning to kill their master so they can be free
    13: illustrates that while well off people use rice for weddings the poor are picking it up so they can eat

    my opinion on what each painting means. i think that most of them are about america and china’s relationship

    1. Chevll says:

      To me they are a little bit different (which is the exact reason I absolutely love art). My interpretations are the following:

      1. Illustrates “Time vs. Compassion”. Those of higher status believe their time is worth more than the compassion for others
      2. Illustrates “Conditional love”. The cat is superior, of all other animals, to the butcher only by the pleasure that it provides to the butcher.
      3. Illustrates Education is force-fed.
      4. Illustrates Ignorance and debt. We owe, and yet, we send our jobs to the same countries we’re in debt too- of which consumers buy from.
      5. Illustrates the danger of addiction. You might not get hooked the first time, but you are doomed to eventually.
      6. Again, illustrates ignorance (Out of sight, out of mind). We let pretty pictures and lies cover up the dangers behind such (ie: pollution).
      7. Illustrates Arrogance and greed. We’re chained by our need of finer things.
      8. Illustrates Apathy. Without the ambition to climb, we feel comfortable in our existence. Yet, it also displays how much we strive to feel like we’re not apathetic (there are still rungs on the ladder).
      9. Being American, to me, it illustrates that Washington is a beautiful background of huge coverups and lies. We only see what they want us to see. (Though, I believe we’d most definitely earned our right to be a real country, lol)
      10. Illustrates poverty vs. riches. The rich can afford to play, while the poor cannot.
      11. Illustrates the lack of respect for “awe-inspiring”. We must document and take pictures of things that should be left alone and mysterious. We take those places or things for granted with the ability to document them- leading to abusing them.
      12. Illustrates that the “poor” or “citizens” are ignorant to their actual power. They have the ability to cut off the head of the king/queen…yet they still choose to be treated like slaves. I find this especially true in America. Our government does not rule us, we rule our government (yet, so many forget this).
      13. Illustrates the ignorance/apathy of the rich/or well-off. We don’t realize the trouble, blood, sweat, and tears that is put into picking the rice we so carelessly throw for celebration.

      So, those are my first impressions/interpretations. Like I said, this is why I love art- at its finest it is open for all sorts of interpretations! And, the more you look at a piece of work, the more the interpretation will evolve! :)

      1. Helenann says:

        I believe #8 is saying the man could get ahead if he didn’t have to use the tools to get out of his situation as survival tools instead. He could climb over the wall, but in order to make it through the night, he has to use the rungs to warm himself to survive.
        #4 reminded me of Christmas–but instead of Santa Claus dropping presents through the chimneys, it’s the workers- who are depicted as Chinese by the flag…

      2. Tyler says:

        My interpretation of the train one, was that the difficulty of the road you have to walk depends largely on the economic status of your parents. If an affluent child wants to pull a train (build a successful career), his train is small and easy to pull. If a poor child wants to, it’s possible, but he must pull much, much harder for it.

  9. bbweis says:

    Really the undermining theme here is the evil, white, rich person making slaves of everyone (1,2,7,10,11,1213)
    Sorry, I know that that’s not really a very good response, but that is essentially what this is.

    @squid, I think #9 demonstrates that Washington is full of liars, not the idea that ALL of america lies all the time and doesn’t deserve to be a real country…

    1. Stephanie says:

      I would take that a step further and say that it doesn’t illustrate america itself as full of liars, but Washington (DC), as that is the Washington monument. Our politicians, certainly, could not tell the truth if they were administered truth serum.

  10. llvvss says:

    This is my opinion on these pictures:

    1: People learn racism, attitudes, etc. early in life and become the adults who do the same thing
    2: Meat/food/pet is subjective
    3: If you are in public school, you will learn what they want you to learn–whether it is true or not
    4: By showing a Western tradition carried out by people from the East, it shows how we are losing our connection to our products
    5: Dangers of alcoholism/bad habits
    6: The tendency to cover up a problem instead of stopping it because it’s quicker
    7: tendency for prisoner population to be predominantly minority, racism and the people who profit from it–also a reference to systemic racism and its similarity to slavery
    8: Some people are never given the opportunity to climb the ladder because they need to focus on survival instead
    9: The people in dc lie but hide it under patriotism/duty/etc.
    10: The fortunate carry their troubles lightly while the troubles of the less fortunate weigh them down more and are harder to carry
    11: Sometimes people act like if they document something enough and are able to keep it somewhere, the actual item/place itself is not as important, and if something happens to it it doesn’t matter because they have proof of it. Also, it is not as amazing because it becomes mass produced on calendars, etc.
    12: Without the lower class who are exploited to keep everything running smoothly, the entire capitalist society would crumble and those at the top would be unable to continue their way of life.
    13: The extravagance and waste of the West compared to the genuine need in other parts of the world

    1. Brandon says:

      For your number 8 description:
      The individual was able to climb the ladder before he/she cut off the steps. It was his/her decision not to climb the ladder that was presented to them in order to elevate. I relate it to “lazy America” (The people who have the tools and abilities to succeed but decide not too for comfort.)

      1. lyone says:

        I think Brandon is right about #8. There are many people –not just in America, but everywhere–who have the tools to get out of their bad situations, but they make bad choices. We all have Free Will. And we all have certain tools at our disposal. It is very true that many people have things very bad in life, but there is usually some sort of choice as to what you can do about it, one way or another. Just like the rungs of a ladder, one choice leads to the next, and they build on one another. A person may be “lazy”, or just scared–but if that person really wants their life to change then it is up to them to choose to change it. It is not something anyone else can do for them.

    2. Me says:

      I still thing 7 is depicting chained to smoking, as the man in the middle is smoking. Being chained to a habit. I am an ex-smoker so that might cloud my interpretation.

    3. Tyler says:

      You can’t really argue exploitation (at least at the hands of the companies) when the job is technically voluntary, which is to say, if you ‘unexploited’ them, the job would cease to exist, equivalent to simply not taking the job. The ‘exploitation’ really comes from a wasteful political establishment that spends our wealth on wars and useless bureaucratic functions. That creates the general poverty which forces people into shitty jobs, but it’s the companies that get the blame.

  11. Jr says:

    My first impression of the wall and ladder image was also that it represented how the unprivileged don’t get the chance to climb up the ladder to success because they are more concerned with survival. But then I realized, that was once a fully functioning ladder, but he chose to cut the steps and stay in that dark place that looks like a prison. So maybe it’s more about people having a choice but choosing to stay in their own prisons. Reminds me what depression feels like.

    1. Tyler says:

      I think it’s a little of both. Poor people are usually poor because of a difference in habits/culture, as opposed to the affluent. Impulse spending rather than frugality. Getting a worthless degree rather than an employable one. Supporting moocher family members ‘because they’re family.’ Getting into debt and then drowning in the interest.

  12. Meep says:

    ok 4 is about how what makes us happy and blissful (christmas, consumerism, etc) is made on the backs of modern-day slaves. Take the iPhone factory worker suicides as example. Its NOT about debt, its about HUMANITY.

  13. Daniel says:

    I found the work very interesting and emotionally captivating.
    I especially like the piece with the man resting in the hammock suspended in the chained workers cuffed hands. I have to admit it squeezed a few sour grapes in me.

    It’s a funny old world!

  14. Matthew says:

    The one with the ladder really struck me.
    I see it as illustrating people’s fear. To me the ladder is an opportunity. It’s the chance to stand up and climb into the light, but instead of taking that chance we are content to sit where we are, using the opportunity to do what society thinks is ‘right,’ forcing us to struggle to survive. We as a people (Americans in particular) seem to be afraid to break the mold and take chances. We’re too scared to climb the ladder and see what’s up there, so we burn the rungs to keep ourselves warm. We chase away the fear by destroying the ladder, and it ensures that we will never become what we could have been…

  15. Red_Letterz says:

    The first one also shows the rich choosing their luxury over compassion for the boys doing the cleaning. The one boy cleans while the other waits patiently for his opportunity to take over for whatever reason. While both of these boys need the work the boy who owns the car is signaling to stop cleaning the car thus limiting the potential for work and earning. So yes, the habits of people rich or poor, are learned early on

      1. Tyler says:

        My take: all three have buckets, but the rich kid’s is turned over, because he won’t be doing any manual labor.

  16. bbweis says:

    I mainly saw these as attempts to continue to enslave the rich white person in a continual stream of “white guilt”. Look people, Just because I’m white and I live in a nice subdivision doesn’t mean my dad goes out every day and regularly beats up poor Asian people for their money and make poor African people wash his car for free. He has worked his butt off and I say we deserve doubly to live where we live right now, and I am not ashamed to say that. So there!

    Another thing about white guilt… get over the slavery in America already. getting mad at me cause I’m white and there were white people in the past (aka 200 years ago) who enslaved black people is a really stupid argument. I am white, yes, but I am also of slavic descent which means (surprise!) my ancestors were probably all slaves. So black people aren’t the only people who may have had ancestors who may have been enslaved by white landowners in the 1800s. So cut out with the stupid “racism” in america and focus on the 27 million people in slavery today.

    https://www.freetheslaves.net/SSLPage.aspx?pid=348

  17. iwilliam says:

    Really awesome. Poignant stuff.

    Favorites are the hook-bottle, the shackles-hammock, and the prisoner with the ladder.

  18. jill says:

    Wow, hard to believe any of you can argue about the context of the images or how righteous they are when bottom line, the artist who made them bought his materials from a supplier whos materials are manufactured in china, or India, or mexico. On top of that he’s uploading it with a device he bought from a company out of china or Korea, and all you ditch-weeds are supporting the same ignorant economy. This work, and all of you are saying one thing and doing another. Doesn’t matter if his message is good when it’s made up of half lies.

    1. LordAstral says:

      the message you take from it you created for yourself. the picture has no caption; you added it there from your own preconceptions of what you saw.

  19. Joyce Hawkinson says:

    Being oblivious to the plight of those who make us comfortable — no matter what level of society we occupy — is something we need to change. Every person exists because someone else works, even the homeless! We are intrinsically linked, and need to be grateful in concrete ways for those who help make our lives better. No enslavement.

  20. Andrew says:

    I’d have climbed over the wall, taken my ladder with me, and THEN burnt it… Didn’t really think that through did he?

    1. Tyler says:

      How do you live with such guilt over the Original Sin of being born in a first world country? Do you really think our forefathers worked their butts off to build the wealth in this country, so we could be ashamed of it?

  21. TracyB says:

    The ambiguity in #8 makes it my favourite.

    At first, we think either that the person had to use the rungs or chose present comfort over future/meaningful freedom/success.

    Then, we wonder if he even knows what is at the top of the ladder. We often don’t. It got even better for me, when I decided it might not be an Elysium, but could be a place far worse than where he now is. He may be making the right decision. Neither he nor we know.

    Some of these are kind of simplistic, yes, and few of us argue, but some are much more interesting and have different interpretations.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Two points to make, the first being that I don’t understand why everyone is commenting saying that THIS IS what the pictures are about. Opinions are nice, I understand, but why infer that your opinion is the end all?
    Secondly, my personal opinion, while I most certainly agreed with others opinions in numerous ways, is a bit different. When I see these images, I don’t see a superior race or social group or economic circle. Sure, there are more blunt meanings to the picture, but what if the pictures just meant something really simple. My interpretation was that life is different for each and every person. Judging by past experiences and even just this thread, individuals are judged as a whole, for what they are perceived to be, disregarding the bigger picture.
    Now, I know this really has nothing to do directly with the pictures, but I just thought I’d put my two cents in.

  23. lyone says:

    I think conelrad is being the pretentious one–by critisizing without offerring anything of his/her own. It is so easy to be negative and to judge others, as if you are so superior. But I think the comments on here are mostly genuine efforts at understanding and sharing and co-thinking, even the ones I disagree with.

  24. lyone says:

    I think Chevill’s observations of the final 3 pictures are very interesting:

    11. Illustrates the lack of respect for “awe-inspiring”. We must document and take pictures of things that should be left alone and mysterious. We take those places or things for granted with the ability to document them- leading to abusing them.
    12. Illustrates that the “poor” or “citizens” are ignorant to their actual power. They have the ability to cut off the head of the king/queen…yet they still choose to be treated like slaves. I find this especially true in America. Our government does not rule us, we rule our government (yet, so many forget this).
    13. Illustrates the ignorance/apathy of the rich/or well-off. We don’t realize the trouble, blood, sweat, and tears that is put into picking the rice we so carelessly throw for celebration.

    #11. Thought I would like to add that I wonder if tourism in general is causing the destruction of ancient sites around the world? I have heard alarming things about garbage and foot traffic causing problems at all World Heritage locations. In addition, air pollution seems to be causing recent rapid increases in the rate of deterioration of stone buildings and monuments that have stood for thousands of years .

    #13. Wasting food–yes. This is such a huge problem in rich societies. And our society is no longer as rich as it used to be, but we still treat food as a throw away substance. This is a habit we will soon begin to regret. We teach our children to make art projects with food. We use food as party favors and confetti. We hit people in the face with food substances as jokes, etc. We frequently throw away our leftovers. Yet here in America millions of children go hungry every day. And all over the world, every two minutes, a child dies from hunger. With all of the changes in the global weather patterns, shortages in the fuel economies, destabilized governments–we really need to be more aware of food wastage.

  25. Phlip Coggins says:

    Baaaaaah, Baah, Baaaaaaah, baaaaaaaaaaaaah, baah baah, bah, baaaaaah……..sorry just putting my two cents in and joining the conversation.

    “I’m a smart person, and I know things” (translation of the sheep dialogue from above)

    Love the work. Made me smile. Shall we just be quiet and enjoy the art? See when we type/talk you kind of interrupt, and the art doesn’t get a chance to speak.

    That’s all. Quiet now, Listen ; )

    1. Tyler says:

      How does commenting distract form the art? Does your computer have some glitch where the comments are plastered all over the images? Or did you scroll down to read the comments, so you could complain about having to read the comments….

  26. Andrew says:

    As a philosophy student, I’ll simply state that the aesthetic purpose of Art is simply to illicit a visceral response. It doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not. It’s the reaction that matters. Whether you were gnashing your teeth, nodding in agreement, or shaking your head in disbelief, the Artist has done his job.

  27. Alex says:

    It’s so sad to see how we haven’t learned anything. Our society has become unethical and immoral, but what’s worse is reading your justifications and excuses for it.

  28. William says:

    I don’t get any of these, WTF? Art is so pointless and stupid. Are these supposed to mean something? They don’t even look good!

  29. Seb says:

    The white culture is indeed destroying the planet, with most of it’s people, cultures and communities.
    What a bunch of useless hispters, to talk about how cliché it is or it is not..

    1. Katrina says:

      Considering the highest polluting nation is now China and it is the most populated country, I’m not sure how you derive that white culture is destroying the planet. Not to mention the pollution that comes out of India’s virtually unregulated industrial complex put together with the other emerging markets.The OECD has dramatically reduced per capita GHG and energy intensity. Our populations aren’t growing and neither is our GDP much, so that’s hardly a fair assessment, especially if you are looking out the next 35 years.

  30. Dixie says:

    Nothing of color is ever used…And was never intended to be used. Humanity as a whole, so simple…So where the arguements exactly?

  31. wondrinfree says:

    I can’t say I am that impressed. Most of the pictures have all the individuality and incisiveness of a freshman art student trying to be deep but late for a submission. The ‘messages’ are mostly obvious and done to death. For me the only interesting piece is the figure burning their ladder for firewood, here there are several different conclusions to be drawn and the viewer isn’t led by the nose to reach the artists conclusion.

  32. Alex Turner says:

    All these comments from closed minded chunks of meat not realising the message in the art is still completely relevant, go back to your one track life if your unable to think deeper and more consciously. However it would be much greater if you wake up!

  33. Janet says:

    Wonderful art! Wish I could see the originals, as well. It’s fun to read so many comments, as I did not read deeply into the meanings of each picture, but only enjoyed how creative the artist was and how much it stirred up so many people’s imagination! Very good, Paul Kuczynski !

  34. moustache says:

    art is in the eyes of the beholder so see whatever you want I see oppression and lots of things that needed to be shown to public, if you only notice one painting that you feel is “racist” then you’re not looking at the painting properly.

  35. eliza says:

    i am doing an assignment for school on the picture of the butcher with the cat and farm animals watching . can any of you give a bit more insight on what you think the meaning is of this picture and why u think he drew it . thank you

  36. Shovelhead says:

    My take on the guy in the pit burning his ladder:
    He is in a pit with a ladder (leading to a better existence) right in front of his nose but is too stupid to realize what it is so what does he do? He burns it instead for a little brief comfort.
    He is already past the point of no return as his ladder is no longer a way out but is now only good for what he has been using it for and that won’t last much longer.
    Before long he will have burned all of his fuel never knowing the extent of his stupidity.

  37. Pspaughtamus says:

    If you are referring to CONELRAD’s comment, I believe he is using “pretension” to describe previous commenters as trying to portray themselves as more intellectual than they really are, it is a pretense, as in, pretend. This has nothing to do with high blood pressure.

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