Requiem for a Paperweight is the final series of photographs in Arthur Tress's Wurlitzer Trilogy. It is at once brilliant and haunting as it personifies the major problems our society is beginning to experience as a result of technological advancement and an increasingly consumer-oriented culture. A reviewer for the Arizona Daily Wildcat (September 7, 1995) explained it much better than I can:
The final and most spectacular installment is Requiem for a Paperweight, the story of one man's struggle through corporate America, and the parallel struggle of human society as
it attempts to assimilate into a technological culture. The 96 photos, staged as panels of 6 by 6, are fantastic examples of an arcane craft. Colored gels, glass, objects and
transparencies are arranged into bizarre, colorful dioramas reminiscent of computer-generated works, then photographed. The resulting compositions have a hyperreal, almost
hallucinatory blend of brilliant color and everyday objects, stripping away contexts and allowing Tress's vision to shine through. Snippets of 50's advertisements, photographs, and
textbook art provide ironic comments on the increasing mechanization of our culture, and the controlling presence of the implacable marketplace. The principal character travels
through an increasingly stifling and stigmatized world toward an epiphany, which may be, according to Tress, "a visual journey into the realms of the inner spaces of the mind."
As a vision
and a warning
, this series is profound
. I remember spending a lot of time wandering around this part of the Wurlitzer Trilogy
exhibit. This bizarre music was playing in the background that accentuated the feeling of association. The colors and collages are captivating, and the message is thought-provoking, bringing up the questions of "What is really going on here? and "What happens now?"