There’s no denying that 2017 has been a hard pill to swallow. With the recent shift in power, basic human rights like water or accessible food prices for all are becoming less of a standard and more often unattainable – high up on a museum pedestal; out of reach. Though those in power may claim equality, for most it’s only visible from behind the proverbial display case. By manipulating recognizable elements of North American food industries – ketchup, water, chocolate bars – the K&P Mart creates a disproportionate, wonky, and skewed landscape mirroring the one currently outside all our local grocers. With this exhibit we propose that, perhaps, we have bitten off more than we can chew.
Held at the Gladstone Hotel for one night only, walking through the turnstile (possibly my favourite prop cop yet) onto the checkered floor meant you were transported into K&P Mart. From the gondola shelving to our sample lady, we wanted the space to feel as real as possible. With nearly 1,200 bodies coming through the space to shop and boogie in aisle 5, it was definitely a night to remember.
Someone’s always watching
In this world are we not always under surveillance? With the help of our tech savvy friend, John Hall, we were able to recreate the staple grocery surveillance system, with our infomercial for Test Tube Tomatoes!!! playing every hour. With many art installations people are left wondering “What does it mean?” – we wanted the messaging to be loud and clear. The shelves were stocked with familiar products rebranded. “The last drop” water bottles and dish soap that’s “tough on grease, tougher on the environment” leave little to the imagination. Humour is a way of making hard topics easier to digest, poking fun at labels like “Hurtsey’s” chocolate “lower income for cocoa farmers means lower price for you” sheds light on the issue of economic conditions overriding both environmental and social concerns. These are tough topics that not everyone wants to acknowledge, so why not have fun while doing it?
Caution: The World is melting
With customized “K&P Mart” work shirts it was easy to spot the staff to ask questions during your shopping experience. Every now and then we’d mop up the “wet” floor aka the melting climate as a nasally “Carl, clean up in aisle 6” called out over the intercom – who doesn’t love some performance art lol!
End of the World
It is always sad to take down the worlds we create and we’re often left thinking ” Well what do we do now?” We are big believers in reduce, reuse, recycle and often reuse props wherever we can (you may have recognized that vending machine from our Sole Academy installation heh). We were grateful to be able to donate all of the products that filled the K&P Mart shelves to Fort York Food Bank. This experience wouldn’t have been possible or nearly as immersive without our common sponsors, and friends, at FujiFilm. We are continuously thankful for their support in our K&P projects.
We hope that K&P Mart, if nothing but a good time, made people rethink what, how, and why we are consuming.
Executive Producer: Dani Roche
Art Direction: Dani Reynolds
Project lead + Creative Producer: Ema Walters
Graphic Design + Production: Sabrina Scott
Production Assistant: Sarah Suresh
Infomercial: Leah Lalich
Photos: Dani Roche + Sabrina Scott