© 2020 Dave Hebb - contemporary fine art photography, video and installation art

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The Poverty of Excess

From 2011 to 2019 I documented 4 cat hoarder houses to be used as evidence for animal cruelty cases. My real intention was to document extreme examples of living environments defined by decay, entropy and human negligence. What I found was much more complex.

 

Although the inhabitants of these homes suffer from mental illness, hoarding is a symptom of a greater societal malady caused by the excesses of Late Capitalism. The profusion of discarded packaging, obsolete appliances, rotting food and cat feces reminds us that we also produce excessive waste throughout our lifetimes. The endless supply of inexpensive consumer goods readily available for even the most economically disadvantaged combined with excessive consumption, compulsion and despair leads to a condition that I refer to as the Poverty of Excess.

 

These images are shocking and may be overwhelming, but despite their outright disgusting living conditions, hoarders often display subtle elements of poetry and nostalgia hidden within the carnage. Perhaps this is an attempt to maintain a semblance of control and to perpetuate the illusion that everything is okay.

 

Everything is not okay.