Suicide Soda

This project grows out of the Zea mays study in the Cultivar Series and critically examines the main product of corn grown for human consumption in the United States: high fructose corn syrup (HFCS).* HFCS is widely used in thousands of food products, including soda, and is linked with obesity, diabetes, high blood-pressure, tooth-decay and other ailments when consumed in excess. The name of the work derives from what teenagers call a drink that blends all the different sodas available at a soda fountain. It also refers to the role that HFCS plays in diabetes-induced death. Soda has negative impacts on public health, even when made with cane sugar instead of that derived from corn. This is particularly problematic in developing countries where communities may lack access to safe drinking water, as cheap soda offers an attractive alternative. The long-term negative impact on health and well-being in these regions, some of them the very lands from which ancient corn varieties first sprang, is a tragic outcome of the industrialization of food production, trade, and the legacy of poverty.

With kind support of MU Artspace and RISD Nature Lab

2018 | installation view at MU Artspace | 200cm x 300 cm | High Fructose Corn Syrup based soda in plastic bottles collected in Providence, RI, USA

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