Snarky Smoothies Distill The Pitfalls Of Modern Society

These drinks blend unusual ingredients like Big Data and Kale Chips to represent the deprivations of urban life.

New York City’s High Line—an elevated freight rail line transformed into a public park—is cooking up some food for thought this summer with their Archeo outdoor art exhibit. The exhibit is a study in contrasts, with the High Line’s natural beauty paired with hulking sculptures that resemble the relics of a futuristic, dystopian civilization unearthed, with a twist. Combining social activism and a little tongue-in-cheek humor, these sculptures, such as Josh Kline’s Skittles—an industrial fridge loaded up with social commentary smoothies—actually offer poignant commentary on humanity’s present fascination and frustration with technology.

At first glance, Skittles looks like a typical fridge—although it might be more at home in a supermarket instead of a park—filled with bottled drinks. But closer examination reveals Kline’s poetic and unconventional “smoothie” concoctions are more than meets the eye. The neat packaging and designs may be modeled after BluePrintJuice’s iconic bottles, but the flavors offer a taste of our contemporary lifestyle, from enticing mixtures of omega3 fish oil, and bacteria, to protein powder, self-tanner, and banana.

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When grouped together, they present a colorful feast for the eyes, as well as a taste of the different struggles, values, and disparities that drive the technologically advanced modern metropolis.

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Archeo’s collection of sculptures range from the whimsical to the surreal, combining outdated technology and traditional crafting techniques. From abandoned washing machines, to scrap metal, hand-woven hammocks, and even a “breathing” kinetic sculpture made of organic and inorganic materials, old and new art techniques clash and contrast with our constant push for modern innovation

But like an archaeological dig site, the diverse sampling of “artifacts” leave little explanation of their “purpose”, so the messages and meanings are blessedly left to visitor interpretation. Overall, the combined exhibit is both critical and nostalgic, with pieces celebrating the steady march of technological revolution, but also raising questions about the price for progress.

Visitors can ponder the “artifacts” at Archeo from now through March 2015 at various locations around The High Line.

Images: Scott Lynch

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