National identities, like other identity norms, are enforced everyday in public spaces. The work that goes into entrenching them exposes their vulnerability and plasticity
British Aisles will explore the coalescing of commerce and national identity in the ‘international food’ aisles of US grocery stores, creating a space for a playful renegotiation of rules and borders.
British-born, Atlanta-based artist Ben Coleman's mixed media installation will cross-examine the products most often located in the British section (tea, chocolate, curry sauce, etc.) Each has a tale to tell about empire, commerce, nationalism and the performance of cultural identity. Arranged together on the shelves they are participants in an elaborate dance of meaning and signification, hidden in plain sight in the seemingly mundane environment of the store.
What secret purposes and hidden interests are served by the deliberate theater of the supermarket, and what role do we play as customers? Can we find new ways to play with our food?