The Land of a Million Cereals: A Mixed-Media Installation by Ryan Alexiev

The Land of a Million Cereals: A Mixed-Media Installation by Ryan Alexiev

2008-06-06 until 2008-07-12
Mission 17
San Francisco, California

If we are what we eat, a significant degree of who we are-at least, in this country-is cereal. In America, cereal is the most popular breakfast food and the third most popular product in the supermarket altogether-after only soda and cereal's constant counterpart, milk. In his up-coming show at MISSION 17, Ryan Alexiev explores this centrality of cereal to our constitution. But cereal, for Alexiev, functions as more than merely foodstuff. His engagement with cereal is informed by his appreciation of its history and continuing importance as a paradigmatic consumer product. Since the advent of cereal in the early twentieth century, the four basic grains-wheat, corn, rice, and oats-have consistently been packaged and promoted in a seemingly endless variety of products. Currently, there are 400 different kinds of cereals on the market, which ultimately are distinguished by little more than their ad campaigns. The substance of cereal is, in this light, ideology. And, when we consume it, we ingest more than merely calories. We literally incorporate a sense of who we are-not only through our identification with an image on the face of a cardboard box, but furthermore, for Alexiev, as rational subjects who imagine ourselves as free to choose.

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