Gao Zixuan

"White Gold"

Section MS6, Mustapha Jundi

Keywords: food, slavery, objects, consumption

The true Age of Sugar had begun and it was doing more to reshape the world than any ruler, empire or war had ever done1

For thousands of years, extracting sugar from sugar cane was a laborious process. From the earliest days of cane domestication on the Pacific island of New Guinea thousands of years ago to its development in ancient India, sugar was consumed on a small local scale and required very intensive labor and processing time. However, with slavery and the plantation, everything changed since sugar's history is entangled with that of slavery. Nowadays, sugar is ubiquitous, present in various forms within food. What was once a luxury item became an everyday commodity embedded in the history of slavery.

Through this project, the aim is to juxtapose this violent history with the present form of sugar consumption. By intervening on the interior packaging of several sugar products, I reproduce archival material regarding the sugar plantation history and place them onto the packages, making visible two opposing realities and histories.

  1. Aronson, Marc and Marina Tamar Budhos. 2010. "Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom, and Science". Clarion books.