Emma Naylor

"Avocado: Superfood or Rotten Fruit?"

Section MS7, Ibiye Camp

Keywords: health, environment, consumption, food, landscape, extraction

The project explores the avocado hand sanitiser. Denatured alcohol kills the bacteria and steals the moisture from our hands, this is replaced by avocado oil which is incorporated to moisturise and enrich the hands. The avocado is advertised and promoted as an enrichment not only for the hands, but for the body too, but at what cost?

We buy 5 billion kilograms of avocados a year, and each one requires 82 litres of water, causing droughts around the world. Nicknamed Green Gold, avocados are a culinary fad and a must-have superfood. Exportation from MichoacƔn, has lifted rural Mexico out of poverty, whilst also making it a magnet for extortion, murder and oppression. The monoculture farming of avocados is also causing deforestation there.

Compiling images of my hands performing different cleaning actions highlights our relationship to the avocado hand sanitiser on a personal level. This tends to be the only view we have on the things we consume.

Contrasting media imagery of the promotion of the avocado and the process behind its appeal is designed to question our consumerist desires, at any cost to other humans and the planet. If the production process of the avocado is revealed to the end-user, they may see the fruit in a different way.

Humans are very resourceful, and our development on the planet has been very successful. But now we are overusing the planetā€™s resources in unnecessary ways, in our greed for personal enrichment and in our strive to make profit. This leaves communities such as the native people of Pertorca, Chile struggling to gain access to water for their basic needs, whilst the rivers are being illegally diverted to the big avocado plantations.

Combining the personal hand actions of consuming an avocado with the issues caused from the production of avocados, highlights the disconnected and conflicting relationship between the ā€˜Press Releaseā€™ approach to the fruit, and the violent and unsustainable production of the monocultured avocado. The images also show the ways in which violence is embedded in our everyday actions.

Through exploring how other artists and activists have exposed the politics behind food and climate change, I have found that colour and texture play key roles in representing the problems associated to the popularity and large consumer demand for the avocado. I have recreated the process of growing an avocado, however various elements of the texture and colour have been altered to expose the devastating problems.

Superfood or Rotten Fruit? revolves around the gradual increase of intensity through the colour, pace, repetition and frame size to expose the dark truths behind the avocado. I have used a combination of media PR films, devastating news stories and my own footage to display three dialogues of the avocado: the delicious health food, the consumerist cuteness, and the environmental devastation. The displacement of moisture is highlighted through the change in sound and by gradually altering the colour of the avocado to display a rotten appearance.