About the Grant

$20,000 to support CAke (MAP 2005), a site specific performance and video installation by Mary Ellen Strom and Ann Carlson that invites the public to examine the source-to-use trajectory of everyday products.

About the Project

CAke is a site-specific performance and video installation being developed by choreographer Ann Carlson and video artist Mary Ellen Strom with dramaturg Melanie Joseph. CAke explores the source-to-use trajectory of the apparel industry, presenting the labor issues, the environmental and cultural impact on communities, and the ethical complexities that face contemporary consumers.

CAke will be situated in empty retail stores. The work is being designed so that it can be installed at multiple locations in international urban and suburban centers.

A work-in-progress draft was presented in 2005 in an empty Liz Claiborne store in NYC, sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Upon entering the store the viewer was surrounded by life-sized video-portraits of individuals who work in NYC’s garment industry. The artists worked with garment unions Unite Here, Local 23-25 and 10 along with individuals who work in non-union shops.

These portraits make visible who labors to produce what we purchase. The portraits are projected where the products are normally displayed. The installation design exploits the psychological strategies of retail marketing that construct consumer desire while bringing the consumer/spectator into direct relationship with the laborers.

Carlson is creating a movement chorus with an ensemble of dancers, based on archival film footage from the first efficiency expert studies by Frederick Taylor, shot in 1913. Carlson is appropriating the movement from this historic footage and creating a dance that speaks about the ways industry has impacted lives through the body.

The CAke project is working to tell the historic and contemporary narrative of the industrial apparel worker and to expose the reasons why the system enforces the laborers invisibility. CAke seeks to examine patterns of international production and consumption and works to further understand the radical disjunction between individual values and the values of corporate and government institutions.
From Mary Ellen Strom and Ann Carlsonís <EM>CAke</EM>
From Mary Ellen Strom and Ann Carlsonís CAke


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