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New Scientist: "Mall tales: an artist’s take on modern retail psychology"

"Shopping malls are hot property in the Arab Gulf states, but Sophia Al-Maria doesn't exactly warm to them in her new video installation"

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"The Gruen transfer was once a uniquely American phenomenon. Named for Victor Gruen, the Austrian-born architect who designed the first indoor climate-controlled shopping mall, the Gruen transfer occurs when people, entering a space designed to be visually disorientating, are confused into a state of unplanned consumption.

"Their desire to purchase one thing, say, a birthday card, has been transferred, against their will, and in a deliberate, even predictable way onto a slew of entirely different items. An iced caramel mochaccino. A pair of trainers. A rubber Totoro smartphone cover. While shopping malls aren't necessarily thriving now in the US, the mall concept has spread around the world, and the Gruen transfer with it. It’s not stretching the definition too far to see it at work on the landing pages of shopping websites like Amazon.

"It's as a direct response to the malling of the Arab Gulf states that the Qatari-American artist Sophia Al-Maria has created her video installation Black Friday (pictured above), on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City."

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