Mary Lyn S. Dioso's "Unabridged Space"

Mary Lyn S. Dioso's "Unabridged Space" exhibition poster

“Illustrating The modern consumer”

Text By Marz Aglipay

Nowadays Filipino people are afforded choices for their basic necessities that tend to trivialize satisfying a simple demand. The amount of choices at the consumer’s disposal is overwhelming thus blurring the distinction between needs and wants.

Mary Lyn Dioso presents “Unabridged Space” where she invites the public to reflect on their purchasing patterns. According to the artist, the title “Unabridged Space” alludes to a moment between the pre and post decision‐ making of a consumer. This uncharted space in time ascertains a raw instance where consumers conclude their considerations that direct how they purchase goods or services.

Dioso takes an interest in Filipino consumers’ shopping motivations in “Unabridged Space.” The artist
operates on a notion that the consumer’s wants and needs have become complex, pointing out that our buying habits are growing less rational at the advent of shopping conveniences. She observes the phenomenon through a lens of self-arbitration, a concept derived from Rational Choice Theory, which states that all actions done by an individual are “rational” and are calculated. George Homans (1961), a pioneer in Rational Choice Theory and Exchange Theory says that human behavior is “not free but determined.” Humans tend to act depending on different situations and scenarios. Homans' theory proved to be applicable in a time where choices were limited.

The Rational Choice Theory argues that consumers are rational if their preferences are complete—that is, if they reflect a relationship of superiority, inferiority, or indifference among all pairs of choices—and are logically ordered—that is, they do not exhibit any cyclic inconsistencies.

Grooming One’s Preferences
Instances of wavered rationality also occur in a digital setting where seat sales and cyber-sales are
abundant. Social media alone is a fertile ground of choices aided by personal recommendations from
friends interspersed with commercials, unique content that clamor for your attention. The bombardment of choices inevitably blurs our needs and wants.

On a surface level, casual Internet browsing is one instance where consumer preferences are formed.
What restaurant are my friends eating at? Where have they been traveling? Which pair of shoes is this
basketball player wearing? What make-up did this celebrity put on? Consumerism transforms into an
aspirational transaction between the consumer and the product or service. In that sense, consumerism
filtered by social media is made to look like it fulfills an aspirational need.

In the advent of shopping conveniences as seen in our strong mall culture, internet shopping, and food
delivery services at Filipino consumers' disposal, Dioso theoretically demystifies this phenomenon by creating a space that functions as a catalyst for introspection. "Unabridged Space" positions itself as a visual commentary on consumers' purchasing habits of products and services. The artist invites her audiences to walk into an enclosed space where they are confronted with representations of an individual’s confinement in his or her consciousness.

Through the artist's intervention, the audience is brought into a white space, as the artist intends to
inspire clarity and encourages the refinement of their thoughts and actions. Dioso incorporates a mirror
inside the space that gives the illusion of an unending vortex-like consortium.

Her installation is ascribed from her experience working at a capitalist industry where she observed how an agency encourages consumerism by extending credit limits exclusively for shopping. The artist
believes that the decision-making process of buying happens so quickly these days that it becomes more
of a reflex that puts rationality in the back burner.

Through this installation, the artist seeks to explore the motivations of the consumer. Hoping to discover if their motivations are brought about by other factors that only the individual experiencing the space can identify for himself or herself. These are assumptions that Dioso presents to be proved or disproved against the theory posed by the Rational Choice Theory.

Discovering our own consumer process— be it a case of being easily swayed by marketing, overwhelmed by too many choices or neither— comes down to the individual experiencing the space to
make a personal choice to respond to Dioso’s “Unabridged Space” as an observant or reactor. Whichever the case, the artist points out that we have the power as consumers to shop as much and as
often as want to.

"Unabridged Space" is Mary Lyn Dioso’s first solo exhibition. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Design from the Philippine Women's University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts Major in advertising design degree from St. Scholastica’s College Manila.
Encyclopedia Britannica. (2019). Rational choice theory | political science and economics. [online]
Available at: [Accessed 13 Feb. 2019].
Exhibition notes for Mary Lyn S. Dioso's "Unabridged Space" at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. March, 2019


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