Published on February 28th, 2014 | by Jill Ettinger2
Why is this Replica of a Fast Food Restaurant So Intriguing?
Perhaps we’ve been looking at fast food wrong all along. Maybe it’s not artery-clogging, obesity-causing, please-stop-calling-it-food stuff…maybe it’s art?
If you’re artist Roxy Paine, it is.
The New York-based artist created a life sized diorama of a fast food restaurant made entirely out of wood, and aptly titled “Carcass.”
Set into the gallery’s walls, the pieces call to mind the scenes of prehistoric flora and fauna you’d find at a natural history museum. And they’re no less detailed. In Carcass, we see all the familiar trappings of the fast food industry. There are hanging monitors, straw dispensers, and a delicate wooden deep fry basket. On the walls, wooden sheets of paper are held up by wooden push pins. There’s even a carefully curled wooden Post-It note.
There’s something both eerie and comforting in Paine’s rendition of the iconic fast food restaurant we all know as familiar: the deep fryer, the registers, the prep line, they’re quaint in a strange way. Like the way we ogle at sharks and lions—ruthless killers not by choice, but by design. So too is the fast food industry. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. It’s as if someone let a lion loose into a schoolyard. The mayhem couldn’t be stopped once fast food met the marketing industry and Big-Ag. Don’t blame the burger and fries; blame the careless, greedy people who let them loose on America.
At the very least, Carcass gives us pause and a fresh perspective. And Paine’s rendition also gives us space to reflect on fast food as a fascinating expression of human civilization. “I am interested in dioramas as a manifestation of the lens that one generation viewed the universe through,” Paine explains. “I am interested in the shifting nature of ‘absolute’ truths through time; how one generation’s absolute can become the next’s anecdotal footnote.” So perhaps we are heading from Super Size to footnote. Fries included.