Global Detail

The consequences of globalisation

Realising the free international movement of people, goods, services and capital dominates contemporary thought and action in the West. That process, and the quick expansion with which it is taking place, is extending its influence into almost all fields of daily life, everywhere in the world. The expansion to global scale creates the suggestion of unlimited freedom, just as the world wide web is able to conjure up ideas, facts and images on the computer screen with a single click of a mouse.

But what is freedom in a world of inequality? The rules of the economic game are written by the strongest. While in large parts of the world the struggle is simply to survive, in the West the goal is one of more: more production, more consumption. It is not unusual for the producing to be done by people who cannot themselves afford to consume what they make, and who work under circumstances which would be unacceptable in the West. At the same time their share in the production process is accompanied by changes in the fields of politics and culture, the environment, migration and the shape of their daily lives - changes which in turn will also affect the West.

Globalisation is a complex process, controlled by forces in a large-scale, complex web that extends to more and more parts of the world. But with the increased expansion of mutual relationships comes increased social consciousness of them, not in the least thanks to the same means of communication that accelerate the process of globalisation itself. The goal is said to be progress. But what is progress, and for who?

In Global Detail 45 photographers from 21 countries show over 300 photographs that all are concerned with the increased dependence, uniformity and inequality that is the consequence of globalisation - a phenomenon that touches all our lives today, as intrusive as it is elusive, as invisible as its effects are visible.

Global Detail is a kaleidoscopic journey around the world, and at the same time through the world of engaged photography. It is a visual statement regarding the decisions that are taken in Western board rooms and the consequences these have for daily life on the other side of the world, about residents of shanty towns and gated communities who watch the same soap operas, about the laws of the market and consumption ideology, money, information, and the carpet of logos that is laid over a world of differences.

Wim Melis, curator Global Detail