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marxist fruit bowl

A reflection upon agricultural means-of-production

2007
maple wood, laser engraving
80″ x 14″ x 15″

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Advanced capitalism presents consumers with goods whose material origins and production history are often veiled, whether intentionally or as a natural consequence of the system’s complexity.  Karl Marx’s writings on fetishization address this mysteriousness acknowledging that commodities are not only material things, but social things that reflect human relationships.  Fetishization can be understood as both an over-valuation of these non-material/peripheral qualities, or (more esoterically) an under-valuation, where the individual labor and social forces are not apparent to, or duly considered by, the consumer.

Marxist Fruit Bowl is a typical wooden ladder with a traditional wooden fruit tray permanently attached atop; the two components are recast as a single entity—a fruit bowl—that speaks to production issues and social relations surrounding the consumption of fruit in America.  Its utility as a fruit bowl necessitates that users climb the ladder, acknowledging in a small way the efforts of the often migrant- or itinerant-fieldworkers who make possible the quantity and variety of produce available for so many others’ enjoyment.

 

A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.
-Karl Marx

materious