'Reality is constantly under construction and its creation never ends, consequently the consumer starts to question reality and the self’
– R. Elliot & K. Wattanaswan
It is impossible to escape the ubiquitous nature of consumerism. We are sold an ideal. A notion of what our lives could be if only we own the latest, the best. But, much like chewing gum – with it’s loss of flavour and value, shape and form – consumerism often leaves us empty. Still we consume. Symbols of status and the body itself.
For their collaborative work, (Ways of Seeing), Chris Cawkwell and Lucy Pereira reflect upon corporeal aesthetics of consumerism through the act of chewing and discarding gum – asking the public to transform, adapt and create the work through the placement of gum on a wall mounted table. This growing archive of chewed gum acts as a portrait of each participant/performer; imprinted by their teeth, spit and DNA. Questioning: does the body consume its surroundings to a point where we are devouring and excreting our own identities, (albeit identities that are performed)?
Chris Cawkwell's practice, which has always explored social systems – particularly media that persuades and manipulates us to consume (capitalist consumerism) – has now been informed through collaborating with Lucy Pereira, and the work produced for the Drawing Connections exhibition at Filter4. Initial correspondence and brainstorming of concepts of the consumption of the body, and of the self, has led to a number of concepts for works involving gum; projects and concepts that we will continue to explore as a collaboration and as individual practitioners.