It’s often hard to tell, in the hellish landscape of 2021, if social media is a help or a hindrance. On the one hand, it helps spread conspiracy theories and coordinate right wing riots, on the other it offers the assurance that “the world is not in a really messy situation” over a sparkling My Little Pony backdrop.
Maybe this statement isn't strictly true, but it’s attracted thousands of likes on @afffirmations, the Instagram run by Norwegian artist Mats Andersen. Similar affirmations include “Seeking help is really cool” – plastered on a neon-pink limousine interior – and “I am so based”, over a blurred paparazzi pic of Paris Hilton. Think what Ed Ruscha’s word art would look like if he was born in the year 2000.
Since Andersen’s first post on January 1, 2021, the English iteration of his page has exploded, gaining more than 350,000 followers (perhaps proof that we’re in need of some positivity, even if it’s blatant fantasy). Naturally, merch followed, taking Andersen’s “global self hypnosis” IRL. Now, he’s looking to create more exclusive art pieces, including tombstones. “I imagine a slab of white, creamy marble,” he suggests, “engraved with the affirmation ‘Wealth and Progress Surround Me Daily’.”
Text Thom Waite