Supermarket Art Fair, 2021

Installation view, exhibited at Supermarket, Stockholm, Sweden with Ormston House. Kindly supported by Culture Ireland and Limerick City & County Council.

Booth painted half red half blue, lights, mylar blankets, 3D animation (with sound by Caimin Walsh and Don Sims).

About the Work

For Supermarket Art Fair 2021 Ciara Barker presents an iteration of People Who (…) Have No Dreams, commissioned by Ormston House as part of the Feminist Supermarket 2021. The title of this immersive installation is drawn from a quote by fashion journalist, Diane Vreeland, sourced from White Bread: A Social History of the Store-Bought Loaf. The quote reads: “People who eat white bread have no dreams.” The gap in the title is left in order to emphasise the binary nature of this type of thinking, that anyone can insert their own ideology into this sentence in order to declare otherness as ‘less than’.

People Who (…) Have No Dreams aims to highlight the absurdness of inherently judging what is good and bad without complexity and nuance. It considers the perceived ties between the body and moral responsibility. Our current culture places enormous weight on the elite performance of maintaining a body that fits a narrow standard. A standard that excludes, shames and oppresses. We are told bodies should be pure, smooth, solid and unchanging, obviously an unattainable standard, but many of us still somehow link it to our worth.

Self-maintenance has been awarded moral value, with bodily purity becoming a status symbol, even at the cost of mental and social wellbeing. We are conditioned to become our own identity-police and to engage in the power relations of self-representation, as though it were a means of proclaiming one’s superior virtue and self-control to the world. However, this theatre of identity performance is a method of exploitation and a disguise for the fear of difference. The installation provides the conditions to physically experience and personally reflect on the oppressiveness of the divide proposed by the video element of the work.

Photos by Sandro Sulaberidze