Assistant Professor of Art, Columbia College, Chicago
Controlled Feeding Status was inspired by Nutraloaf, a completely tasteless food that is used as a behavior modification tool in some American prisons. In 1999, inmates at the Tamms Correctional Center in Illinois argued that Nutraloaf constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Judges in the case noted that while a punishment based on caloric restriction is prohibited, Nutraloaf is technically nutritious and therefor legal. Many American problems stem from overabundance, whether it’s too many prisoners or too much food. Controlled Feeding Status proposes a tongue-in-cheek solution with a set of reimagined flatware. Each utensil in the series is designed to restore difficulty to, rather than remove it from, the eating process. In this way, Controlled Feeding Status points to the dysfunction of our relationship with consumption by interrupting the most basic tool with which we engage that system.
1.http://www.state.il.us/court/opinions/appellatecourt/2001/4thdistrict/October/HTML/4000895.htm#AppendixA (accessed February 26, 2014).
Taylor Hokanson is a DIY engineer, CAD/CAM evangelist, and an Assistant Professor of Art at Columbia College Chicago. Like the digital media at the center of his research, Hokanson’s practice blurs the boundaries between conceptual art and the hard sciences. He frequently works with hacked electronics, changing the function of common consumer gadgets so that they become alien and unfamiliar. His Sledgehammer-operated Keyboard is a popular example: in changing the scale, material and interface of a common device, Hokanson asks the user to reconsider a communicative medium devalued by ease of use.