After the Order
edible sculpture, 60x180x60 cm
Capitalism begins with sugar. Capitalist "sweetness" consists of these secret ingredients: cheap work, cheap desires, cheap nature, cheap food, cheap lifestyle, cheap happiness, cheap lives. Sugar's history is one that closely aligns with the main themes of capitalism: colonialism, exploitation, profit and control. Both the production and the consumption of sugar reveal how its origins, as a slave crop grown in Europe's colonies, are interwoven with its use, first as an extravagant luxury for the aristocracy and then as a staple of the diet of the proletariat. Today sugar is the "opium of the masses" that keeps us all sedated and complacent. Capitalism promotes fantasies which produce consumers who desire their dependency. And sugar is its epitome.
After the Order is a "sweet" materialisation of The Pyramid of the Capitalist System, a critical drawing of capitalist economic structure from 1911. The image served as a model which was manufactured into a multilayered cake, decorated with symbolic figurines and props made of sugar paste. Capitalism works because it enthralls the senses. Consumerism triumphs because it dazzles the imagination and satisfies longings. Reflecting the dynamics of consumerism, we sculpted the caricature of capitalism by turning it into an appetising feast for all the senses. The core hierarchy was confected and served to the public. By getting viewers involved in conspicuous consumption, devouring capitalism happened both metaphorically and literally, in full spectacle. Homo consumens overtook homo faber: creating the cake with all its minutious details was a laborious time-intensive process, while dissolving it in the public's saliva took less than an hour. The pyramid structure of the system mutated from a symbol to a product to pleasure to calories to waste. Cannibalistically, the sweet taste of capitalism seduced and invited to its own consuming. For a moment, the fetishistic nature of the Empire existed through the performance of eating its own image.
performance at Salonul de proiecte, Bucharest, 2011
after the order from chitka on Vimeo.
performance with Sorry We're Closed at Art Brussels, 2012