'SUPERCARGO', the Art of Peter Moosgaard

  • Martin Ochsenhofer University of Vienna
Keywords: commodity fetishism, consumerism, differentiation, identification, Peter Moosgaard, cargo cults


A student essay for the Special Student Issue of the Journal of Extreme Anthropology accompanying the art exhibition 'Artist's Waste, Wasted Artists', which opened in Vienna on the 19th of September 2017 and was curated by the students of social anthropology at the University of Vienna. This essay considers the ways in which our need for differentiation on one hand and identification on the other shapes our relation to commodites and fuels their magical, fetishistic properties. Using the case of Peter Moosgaard's art project SUPERCARGO, it is argued that this art piece can unsettle the way we conceive of commodities, and reveal what may have previously been unconscious.