Adventures of the Orange Square

Once unwrapped, the surface is diffusely shiny, reflecting only a dull haze. Millions of this minimalist, monochrome sculpture exist across the globe: a thin, floppy bright-orange square, almost eight centimetres across, representing a race against the sun, a denial of time. It is made up of around 97 per cent dairy, or more accurately solid materials that were once dairy: whey protein concentrate, anhydrous milk fat and dried milk powder. The other three per cent is a cocktail of hydrocolloids, emulsifiers, preservatives, additives and dozens of other intermediary ingredients that don’t legally need to be listed, including a vitamin D supplement derived from Australian wool. This consumable ready-made is the true icon of our era: the processed cheese slice.

 

Image: Melanie Jackson, Deeper in the Pyramid, 2016-18, production stills, 182.5 x 87cm ©Melanie JacksonZhejiang

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Chris Fite-Wassilak is a writer and critic based in London. He is a regular contributor to Apollo, Art Monthly, Art Papers and frieze, and a contributing editor of ArtReview. His short book of essays Ha-Ha Crystal (2016) is published by Copy Press.

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