THE CONSUMPTION THERAPY™ DEMONSTRATION CHAMBER
The Consumption Therapy™ Demonstration Chamber was a performance that occurred during the 2019 Hold Fast Contemporary Arts Festival in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This performance was framed as a live demonstration of an absurdist therapy that claims to cure an individual of the drive to consume goods at the rate encouraged by our neoliberal, klepto-capitalist society.
The Chamber was a large, inflatable plastic ball, half-filled with plastic recycling that was donated by the art community in St. John’s. Plastic of all varieties was included, creating a visual cacophony of colours, textures, and advertising. During the performance I was inside the ball, in character as “The Hobbyist”, tumbling, rolling, and immersing myself in the plastic detritus, forced to confront and exist within a tiny fraction of the throwaway plastic waste that is generated each day across the world.
This performance was an absurd spectacle of a person yielding to plastic waste: a demonstration of the struggle to remove one’s self from the society that is engaging in the destruction of the planet. It reverses a person’s typical relationship with waste: instead of being rendered invisible with waste management infrastructure, it engulfs the consumer, forcing them to surrender to the evidence of their consumption.
The Consumption Therapy™ Demonstration Chamber, 2019
Arianna Richardson is a sculptor, performance artist, and mother from Treaty Seven territory (Lethbridge, AB). Richardson most often works under the pseudonym, The Hobbyist, employing hobby-craft techniques to work through an investigation of ubiquitous consumption, gendered labour, waste, excess, and spectacle.
Richardson holds a BFA (2013) in Studio Arts from the University of Lethbridge and an MFA (2018) from NSCAD in Halifax, NS. She was awarded the Roloff Beny Photography Scholarship in 2012 and the Alberta Arts Graduate Scholarship in 2016. Her work has been exhibited across Canada and has been featured in the December 2018 issue of Performance Research, “On Generosity” and Volume 8 of Emergency Index: An Annual Document of Performance Practice. Website: www.ariannarichardson.ca
Watch Your Head is an online anthology of creative works devoted to the climate crisis and climate justice.
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