Private Project



The still-life genre began with the Dutch, encouraged by Protestantism, trade and a new urban middle-class. Beginning with flowers, painters like Pieter Claesz and Jan Davidsz de Heem developed extraordinary techniques to give presence to luxurious consumption.

The shopping trolley is a technological triumph taken for granted, a cumulative bricolage of wheels (invented by Sumerian potters), metallurgy and design, enabling our insatiable appetite for consumption.

This work generates an informational art exploring the extraordinary role the wheel has played in radically transforming both culture and destroying nature. The story of the wheel includes anonymous Sumerian potters, Richard Arkwright, Karl Marx, Henry Ford, Marcel Duchamp, and Sylvan Goldman (of the Humpty Dumpty chain) who invented the shopping trolley.

'The hunger of 800 million happens at the same time as another historical first - that they are out-numbered by the one billion people on this planet who are overweight.' [i]

Sianne Ngai has argued that the sublime and the beautiful are no longer catalysts for contemporary art. New categories, including ‘interesting’, illustrate, ‘how aesthetic experience has been transformed by the hypercommodified, information-saturated, performance-driven conditions of late capitalism.’ [ii] Art can be beautiful or interesting, annoying or stimulating, or all at the same time. Why not informative? Information art need not be a data driven technology. Can it be interesting?

[i] Raj Patel, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, Viking, 2008.

[ii] Sianne Ngai, Our Aesthetic Categories, Harvard UP, 2012.
References available on request from John Bennett at

  • John Bennett
  • John Bennett
  • Project Type:
  • Runtime:
    26 minutes 38 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 3, 2021
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital video
  • Aspect Ratio:
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  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - John Bennett

John Bennett is a poet, published worldwide, who has won major poetry prizes. He also writes essays on environmental issues and his PhD explored ecopoetics. He lives in New South Wales by the sea in a beautiful sub-tropical region of rivers and forests, and has become a visual artist, but one with text embedded in most of the work.
He gives talks at Coffs Harbour Regional Art Gallery and exhibited a multi-media presentation ‘First Light - from Eos to Helios’, Coffs Harbour Regional Galley, from July, 2017. A documentary on this project, ‘Poetry at first light’ was broadcast by ABC Radio National’s Earshot, February, 2016. He recently provided texts, photographs and videos for artists for the national ‘Overwintering’ project (migratory shorebirds) exhibited at Coffs Regional Gallery, summer 2019/2020.
Other screenings/exhibitions include: Biligan (commissioned), Bellingen TurtleFest, 2016; the Blue Mountains Heritage Centre, Blackheath, Oct 2013; Matilda St Gallery, Macksville, Sept 2012; Balmain Watch House, Syndey, Oct 2011; Sydney Writers Festival, 2010; Newtown Underground Film Festival, Sydney, 2010; and a multi-media installation, MacLeay Museum, University of Sydney, 2007.
His videos have also been published in the special 30th anniversary edition of Going Down Swinging; ekleksographia (USA); Poetry Australia and online.
He has won photographic competitions and his images are used by The Dept. of Primary Industries, News South Wales, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, local councils, tourist authorities, festivals and schools.
He was Artistic Director of the Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival for five years.

John Bennett
Blue Poles, Birugan Close
Valla Beach, NSW 2448
+61 2 400 261166

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