To initiate our LIMINAL Cemeti project, we created a fast food auction sale which was parodically performed in a professional way. It reminded of auctions of luxurious objects like artworks in auction centers. Besides, the auction was performed in Cemeti art house that is a gallery to display contemporary artworks. It made us think to parody fast food as an art object. Our reason to create the auction was our prejudice that fast food nowadays as a type of food that is widely known for its detriment quality than its gain. It’s often associated with junk food, unhealthy food, tasteless food, typical food, alienated from local wisdom, produced by machine and not human production, and then it was cooked by low-paid labors, etc.
Departing from this curiosity, we then wanted to observe it much further, by creating the auction sale equipped with additional elements, such as teaser about the food, explanation and exaggerated background of ingredients origin. The food we auctioned consisted of 3 types; American fried chicken, hamburger, and potato donuts. We hired an auctioneer who seemed to be professional with suit and gloves.
The auction was opened by the auctioneer with an opening lines and idea of the auction. The first bid was conducted by screening a video teaser about fried chicken, continued with bringing the chicken to the audience and the auctioneer read out the ingredients of the food. The bidding took place. It continued with the following foods, hamburger and potato donuts. We intendedly prepared few actors to keep bidding with higher price. Few people looked confused and wondered as a hamburger sold for IDR 216,000 and a box of 5-piece potato donut for IDR 100,000. During the bidding, it was heard that people whispering was it a real bidding or was it a joke and was the food actually made of the ingredients as told by the auctioneer.
At least, our curiosity was partly answered by observing this situation. It seemed that almost all of the audience had similar interpretation about fast food, as in it was unhealthy and cheap food. If the fried chicken and hamburger were cooked by an expert cook, these foods would have been a higher prestige. Especially if they are made of local organic ingredients and environmental friendly as they are limited and cooked by a well-known chef. Yet under the term of fast food, it seemed that it has a negative association automatically. Does the word fast no longer indicate modernity and tend to suggest a minimal effort, not dedicated and simply centered on the final result that is an achievement of production time acceleration, not its process?
We still have more questions about the existence of fast food in this era, we will conduct series of activities, workshop and discussion in this project. Cheers!