What Would I Do Without You

5 Sep – 29 Sep 2012

Daniel Betham

For the exhibition What Would I Do Without You, Betham employs the medium of video to explore contemporary notions of spirituality and nihilism in a poetic and absurd fashion. The films rehearse contemporary rituals or ad hoc games performed in sporting arenas. These games are original attempts at spontaneous questing—for the moment of fulfillment—in a post-nihilist or neo-transcendental manner.


By performing the games in sporting arenas, Betham draws our attention to the absurd nature of game playing and highlights its useless, yet also necessary, role as a platform for nourishing our sense of self-fulfillment: we create our own parameters, rules and games and gain a sense of achievement from their completion.

Betham addresses the parallels between the rhetoric in advertising for sporting brands such as Nike’s Just Do It campaign, and that of spiritual and motivational media, such as the Oprah-endorsed The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Both mediums make use of transcendental philosophies in their promotional campaigns. Using routines of relentless self-induced optimism, they suggest infinite possibilities for intangible rewards. The shoes and the book that you buy are the peripheral products; you are really purchasing the belief that there is a better you out there, one that is yet to be attained.

View photos from the opening on Facebook

Daniel Betham, What Would I Do Without You, 2012. Image courtsey of Lance Cash. 

Daniel Betham, What Would I Do Without You, 2012. Image courtsey of Lance Cash.