DISORIENTALISM :: Katherine Behar + Marianne M. Kim

Disorientalism is an on-going art project by Katherine Behar and Marianne M. Kim.

Brown Bagging: Quality is Our Recipe, 2012


Quality is Our Recipe is a live performance that picks up on the narrative begun in Disorientalism’s “Brown Bagging” installation. We find the Disorientals in Wendy’s Old-Fashioned Brown Bagging Factory where they play their own avatars in a custom Kinect video game, Participation May Vary. In the game, manual and affective labor blur in the similar repetitive gestures and narratives of progress that span factory work, video games, and tai chi. Stepping out of the factory game, the Disorientals become engulfed in a mass of brown bags and respond to the disembodied, computerized voice of an executive who directs them in absurd choreographies of managerial labor, exploring tropes of gamification across all categories and classes of work. Quality is Our Recipe appropriates references ranging from Lady Gaga, to parking lot tai chi, to the invention of abstract paper money in Goethe’s Faust, which the Disorientals translate into Karaoke.

The Food Groups Aunt Jemima character iconThe Food Groups Wendy character iconThe Food Groups Land O' Lakes character iconThe Food Groups Sun-Maid character iconThe Food Groups Chiquita Banana character icon

This project is a chapter in The Food Groups, a five-part series focusing on race and labor in American food production and promotion. The Disorientals encounter five historical food industry trade characters of different races. In “Chapter 1: Ready Mix” we meet Aunt Jemima; in “Chapter 2: Brown Bagging” we meet Wendy; in “Chapter 3: Maiden Voyage” we meet the Land O’Lakes Indian Maiden, in “Chapter 4: A New Face” we meet Sun-Maid; and in Chapter 5 (forthcoming) we will meet Chiquita Banana. These iconic identities are affective laborers whose job is giving a friendly face to factory food. In solidarity, the Disorientals work to erase distinctions between the depersonalized production and personalized promotion of industrial food.

Video: Excerpts from performance at Defibrillator Gallery

Performed at:
Rapid Pulse Performance Festival 2014. Defibrillator Gallery, Chicago. June 6, 2014.

“Performing Economies.” Curated by Stephanie Rothenberg. University at Buffalo. April 4, 2014.

“Food Justice Girls Summit.” Curated by Jillian Hernandez. Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami. May 29, 2013.

“The Affect Factory: Precarity, Labor, Gender, and Performance.” Curated by Women and Performance. New York University. February 10-11, 2012.

Images: Crystal Pearl and Bow Ty.