A Morphology of Luxury
At the end of a meal, my grandmother would say “every grain of rice is a drop of sweat from the farmer who grew it” as a way to ensure that we ate everything on our plates. Hearing this from someone who lived through war, poverty, and several immigrations, and for whom the fear of hunger was very real, the connection between survival, labour, and food seemed very obvious. In relation to industrially manufactured foods however, the scale of this relationship can feel abstract or even unfathomable but the connection is still undeniable.
In this project, I have documented the front and back of each food item contained in a selected package of manufactured food. Using a simple background and lighting, my intent with this project is to document the appearance of the items with as little alteration as possible from their condition as sold. The works in this series range in scale from a snack sized package cakes resulting in a small grid of 4 images, to a family size box of cereal resulting in a grid containing over 3600 individual images.
Through the labour intensive process of photographically documenting and cataloguing each food product, processing each image, and printing and framing these images in high quality archival art materials, I hope to preserve and present these works as a tribute and reminder of the labour involved in every level of its production.
In the Spring of 2015, I presented a few of these pieces including a complete installation of A Morphology of Luxury in Froot in an exhibiton with poet Jacqueline Valencia for which she wrote and performed poetic responses to the images. You can read her poems here.