The 10-foot food forks are made exclusively from bacon, fries,
white bread, used gum, licorice, and cheetos
sarcastic, these icons of consumption render one of the most basic
of all our desires, hunger, dysfunctional. Suddenly forks are no
longer just a functional item, but something ominous, overwhelming
and dramatic. The most basic of our needs, eating, becomes challenging,
monotonous, and out of our control. As the forks grow out of control,
their context become lost, and their character becomes something
to be reckoned with. Strangely alluring yet grotesque, camouflaged
in skins of fats, oils, and sugars, their presence is anything but
Robin Lasser's video "Dining in the Dump" presents digital
videos of performance and temporary installations that take place
at Sanitary Fill Company in California, U.S.A. Constructed for the
camera, her work compares and contrasts the digestive system indigenous
to Sanitary Fill by leading the viewer into a cycle of repetition
and accelerated actions (all focused on food consumption and waste)
that exacerbate our culture's (North American) disordered habits.
While environmental consumption may seem overwhelming, uncontrollable,
and warped, we sometimes become detached from or numb to these realities.
Lasser parallels these societal issues with the interior thought
process of someone afflicted by eating disorders. The individual's
psychology thus becomes a mirror reflecting the larger disordered
In the sorting area at the Waste Management Center Lasser stages
a performance for the camera in which she compulsively eats junk
food as it rushes towards her on a conveyor belt. She wastes much
more than she eats while piles of food and packaging tumble into
In the garbage pit at the Waste Management Center plates of food
dive from their dinner table perch into a bottomless pit. Conversely,
white bread flies out of the pit and lands on the table serving
up sandwiches perfectly formed, filled with the toxins initially
released in the dump. We are what we eat and also what we waste.
What we think we throw away actually comes back to haunt us. It
is possible that we will end up consuming ourselves in the process
of consuming the land.
The larger than life eating utensils (forks) depicted in the recycling
area at the Waste Management Center are metaphors for the way North
American's consume and waste, literally burying themselves in their
own garbage. The rats and seagulls pictured in the video feed off
the waste, completing the inverted food chain, yet never fully being
able to fulfill their task.
When Lasser was a child she experienced Anorexia Nervosa. In her
video she parallels waste with wasting away. Eating disorders are
often found in cultures whose dominant mode is over consumption.
Lasser finds it interesting that while North American's consistently
over consume, one out of four women between the ages of 13 and 24
are starving or stuffing themselves, sometimes to death.
(Photographs from the video are attached as jpegs - 300 dpi. They
may be used for press and the article in Magenta.)