For much of my life I’ve been interested in ethics. In the past several years I’ve grown more curious about the individual’s function in and responsibility to community, and how individuals can retain autonomy in an increasingly diverse and rapidly advancing society. My current work addresses issues of individual choice within a framework of global consumption.
For Sweet Demise I have specifically explored how our desire for sugar continues to shape our world. This centuries old product has led to the world-wide obesity epidemic and its related diseases such as the growing global diabetes crisis. It’s not only forced millions into slavery – formerly through bondage and now through migrant labor – its very ubiquitousness has turned our bodies into slaves of our minds. As the medical community develops pharmacological and surgical methods to control the epidemic, as many governments and the sustainable food movements gain popularity with food awareness programs, I think about the role individuals can play to shape such trends. I am profoundly inspired by those – from the eighteenth century abolitionists to the modern day consumers – who choose to forgo excessive use of sugar not only for their own health but also to raise awareness of the role played by industries in the excessive use of sugar found in processed foods.
My growing interest in medical ethics and biotechnologies led me to this investigation, which started fifteen years ago with a personal decision to limit my sugar intake and grew over time as I read books articles by food experts, had heated discussions with leading scientists and studied the works of other artists working with sugar. I’ve read several historical accounts of the industry, many several investigative reports and petitions on modern day production and countless articles on science food and health, much of which espouses the age-old motto that moderation is the key to life.
As a socially engaged, interdisciplinary artist with a commitment to making well-crafted, aesthetically pleasing objects, I have spent years pushing the limits of sugar as a medium in my interest in how art can create positive change. It is my hope that this work reminds us of what we are capable of and the power of individual choice.