Serving Up Foreign Policy

Installation / Performance, October 2007

Serving-Up Foreign Policy critiques the role of American foreign policy through the primary medium of store bought sheet cakes.  The installation consisted of three full size (24 x 18 inch) sheet cakes made by a local grocery store, served in the gallery space.  Each of the three cakes address what I felt were the arenas of the most significant failures in US foreign policy over the past 7 years: the Axis of Evil Doctrine, the Drug War, and the Foreign Military Aid Program. Embedded on the surface of each cake by a sugar printer was satellite imagery of the countries most affected by these policies. I intentionally chose to outsource the production of the cakes to a large supermarket chain store known for its sickeningly sweet baked goods made from a bevy of processed and artificial ingredients.  I set each cake on their own table adorned with patriotic regalia including red-white-and-blue table covers, napkins and forks.

Just as significant as the production of the cakes was how the cakes were served to gallery goers.  Like many aspects of American foreign policy, I outsourced the serving of the cakes to a local actor who in addition to being a Caucasian male, had an impassive lawyer-like bearing. I instructed him to respond to any queries regarding the nature of the installation by saying, “I cannot answer anything about that, but here have some cake.”

Serving-Up Foreign Policy is an investigation on the excesses of American foreign policy, and accordingly the cakes and their installation were excessive in all respects: excessive to the proportion of people at the opening, excessively sweet, excessively artificial, the serving knife was excessively large, the actor serving them excessively impassive and the micro-environment where the cakes were placed excessively patriotic.

Activation
October 5 – November 3
Ricahrd Gamble, Curator
Rob Canfield, Leila Hamdan, John Morris, Sanjit Sethi and Jonathan Yablonski
Delta Axis @ Marshall Arts