New Glue Society installation tackles food waste

The Glue Society recently created a new art installation for the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, which aimed to highlight the amount of food each Australian household wastes every year. The piece consisted of a fruit and veg store, where all the food inside was left to slowly rot over the course of the festival…

The Glue Society recently created a new art installation for the Adelaide Festival of Ideas, which aimed to highlight the amount of food each Australian household wastes every year. The piece consisted of a fruit and veg store, where all the food inside was left to slowly rot over the course of the festival…

While several artists have utilised rotting fruit in their work (see works by Anya Gallaccio and Sam Taylor-Wood, for example), The Glue Society’s piece, titled More Than Ten Items Or Less, has a specific political message. “The purpose of the installation is to kickstart and foster a debate about the issue of food wastage, which is particularly endemic in Australia,” says artist James Dive. “More Than Ten Items Or Less is a purpose-built grocery store displaying the equivalent of the average household’s food waste in a year, which is then left to rot.”

The Adelaide Festival of Ideas took place over four days from October 17-20. The Glue Society’s installation was set up the day before the festival began so at the start, as the pictures above show, the food all looked pretty fresh. This rapidly changed though, as onions began to sprout and the fruit began to grow furry. The photos below show days four and five on the site.

The installation, which visitors could look into through the windows but not enter, unsurprisingly caused some controversy. “But that’s the point,” continues Dive. “Everyone hates seeing good food wasted, but we all still do it. The work sets out to confront us by reflecting our disgust back onto our own behaviour.

“As a nation, Australians waste $7.8 billion dollars worth of food a year. And we throw away one in every five shopping bags we buy, or enough to fill 450,000 garbage trucks. On a global scale one third of the food produced for human consumption gets lost or wasted.”

As well as shocking visitors with the sight of the rotting store, The Glue Society encouraged debate online during the course of the festival, asking householders to share images of the contents of their fridges, to debate use-by dates and swap recipes for leftovers.

Photographs by Hugh Fenton

The Glue Society, based in Sydney, is known as much for its art installations as its advertising work, with previous works including a giant sculpture of a melting ice cream van, a series of images that reimagined scenes from the Bible in Google Earth, and a house that rained on the inside. The collective’s most recent work, for the Sculpture By The Sea exhibition in Aarhus, Denmark, was a piece that saw an entire amusement park crushed into a cube. More info is available online at gluesociety.com; and more on the Adelaide Festival of Ideas is at adelaidefestivalofideas.com.au.

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