'THE THIN ORANGE LINE' (2021)
An interactive installation existing of candy dispensers, plastic bags, and candies.
During the various Dutch Covid-19 lockdowns, there has been a lot of discussion about what is essential and what is not. The word ‘essential’ has been gradually shifting in meaning, practically coming to signify to what stores and services should be (fully) open to the public. Museums and other cultural institutions for example were still closed at the time of the exhibition, while stores for (food) supplies hadn’t been closed at all. This includes candy shops, which have remained open for customers throughout the several lockdowns.
Alice Wong and Crys Leung raise questions about this essential/non-essential policy with their interactive installation The Thin Orange Line. The title refers to both the thin blue line – which refers to the idea of policemen being the border between a healthy society and complete chaos – as well as orange being the (informal) national colour of the Netherlands. The work consists of several plexiglass displays, showing one piece of candy, including a label as you would see in a museum, playfully disguising art as candy – otherwise, the exhibition couldn’t have opened at all. In this way, the installation walks a thin line between essential and non-essential: can candy be a form of art?
All viewers/customers can use a tong at the bottom of the display, to fill a bag with sweets; pricing ranging from €3 to €7, buying art for very fair prices. These bags are printed with questions to think about while eating candy, about what can wait and what can not – especially in pandemic times. If you have serious cultural cravings, can you still consider art non-essential?
Exhibiting from 17 to 26 May 2021, at Museum Voor Niet-Essentiële Kunst curated by We Are Public at Droog.
Designed by Alice Wong & Crys Leung, film edited by Alice Wong, installations crafted by JB Gambier, text written by Maarten Buser, photographed by Crys Leung.