The Ritual of Everyday Consumption

The Constant Consumer focuses on the dilemmas and evolution of contemporary daily consumption. Struck by how disconnected we are from the products we consume, the Constant Consumer allows us as curators to delve into issues of consumption, community, morality, commodity, and ethics. Through the elevation of the most mundane of coffee-drinking vessels – the white paper cup – to the status of a precious “art” object worthy of our attention, Ashley Szczesiak’s LATTE dada showcases how modern coffee-drinking practices can impart “carefulness and thoughtfulness in regard to consumerism” (Szczesiak).

The ways our daily consumption consumes us.

SAIC undergraduate student Stephanie Chu’s animated feature Coffee satirizes the consumption of coffee as habit forming and at its extreme, addictive. Chu’s corresponding chalkboard drawing, a growing pile of cups representing a small percentage of SAIC’s coffee consumption will be executed at regularly scheduled weekly intervals. The artist will extend the pile each week to mirror the coffee consumption by students at the Neiman Center Café. Coffee plays an important role in the exhibition Constant Consumer in a humorous nudge at the personal and social ramifications of our daily habits, such as coffee drinking.

“Eating prosthetics, the methods of daily consumption.”

The final installation of the exhibition includes artists currently at SAIC, alumnus of SAIC, and those outside the SAIC community. All brought to the same table the works speak independently, but also reflect the variety of interpretations that artists have on daily consumption. Similar to the takeaway for the exhibition, each work analyzes the use of eating prosthetics and the role it has on society’s daily life. How do the items that aid our consumptions alter not only our vision on what we are eating, but what we produce as well? An additional publication that runs parallel to this portion of the exhibition delve further into that question through historical research regarding the physical prosthetics of eating in a number of cultures: cups, bowls, forks, chopsticks, etc.


*A blog by SAIC students in collaboration with Rooting: Regional Networks, Global Concerns Fall Symposium, 2013.

Rooting: Regional Networks, Global Concerns unites trios of artists/farmers/chefs in Chicago and India and connects diverse fields of urban agriculture, food, the arts and small business, catalyzing discussion across disciplines in order to create new hybrid models of sustainability and to better connect people to what they eat. Merging the poetic with pragmatic action in response to the challenging and urgent matters of growing and consuming food sustainably, the trios will collaborate on meals as artworks, conducting discussions and workshops centered on growing, eating and distributing food in cities.


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