Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Andrew DeCaen's Prints About Our Obsessive Eating Rituals

A recent view of Andrew DeCaen's work whetted my appetite to see more. In his Metabolism Series, Portfolio III, (as pictured above), there is an image of three people sitting down in what appears to be movie theater seating. Each person is absorbed by the movie screen in front of them, and each person is obsessively consuming a big bag of popcorn. (Fess up, who among us hasn't done the same?) I'll venture this print is of a family unit, as they are seen here each pleasurably enjoying their tastey morsels while their minds are engaged in the realm of fantasy, excluding the activity which we see them performing.

DeCaen says of this series..."Eating and other rituals surrounding food have become the major context of this body of work. We eat our meals in various states of awareness of the act and it’s significance. I find myself looking with curiosity at the space, time, and manner in which we eat, prepare, and acquire our meals. My original perception of these moments is often interrupted or distracted. I return to them with the attempt to create a curious space where questions form."

The extent to which these people are distracted from their consumptions isn't exactly a novel statement, but it does, in fact, document what is fast becoming a national pastime. Obsessive eating, the rituals we go through, and where those rituals are performed, is of growing interest. It is pandemic to go to any movie theater in any city in this country and witness an amazing sight - the Jumbo-Sized package consisting of a gallon of pop, a bucket of popcorn which should be used to feed the farm animals, and then there's the menagerie of miscellaneous items one MUST have to accompany the movie feast - the 2 pound bag of Twizzlers and/or M & Ms. And the really ghastly thing is to witness Every member of the family with their own Jumbo meal package. Honestly, I' like to know how many automated external defibrillators (AED) and Heimlich procedures are occurring daily in the theaters across this country. Sorry, I digress.....

 DeCaen's method of presentation makes me want to give it a good look. The image is made into a paper bag - a popcorn bag - and the bags themselves are filled with yellowed, pseudo-paper popcorn. It completes the viewer's perception of what comes next, and transforms them to their own memories of being in the theater. How many of us have hit the movie ticket counter and instantly want popcorn and pop?  DeCaen helps us remember our own movie-going experiences, and the nostalgia attached with them. I'm enjoying the idea, so who's up for a movie?

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