March 3rd, 2006
Soylent Green is people!
Part of Soylent Green's enduring fame is that even though most people haven't seen the movie they already know the shocking surprise ending. If you're one of the few who don't know it, well, sorry but I just ruined it for you.
The genesis of this project lays in the suggestion from one of our illustrious forum members to go to a grocery store and write Now With Soylent Green on various packages with markers. I decided to take it one step further and whack up a quick design for a sticker with the phrase on it, adding some little disclaimer text for the full explanation.
Let me just start off right here with what is probably one of the best reader submitted pictures theWAREHOUSE has ever received. On 7/10/07, Brooke sent in the following. Please note all elements of the following image.
I just want to make sure you also note that it's Jamaican flavored, which likely means "jerk" seasoning...ahem. Anything I say in addition would just be...crude.
We found this cool Soylent Green shirt too:
Take that, Taco Bell.
So here's the deal. Soylent Green is people! Someone's got to tell them. In this age of disposable prepackaged everything, we are getting further and further withdrawn from the actual sources of the products we consume on a daily basis. This is particularly what interested me about the prospects of putting my "additional labeling" on foodstuffs. Obviously the products don't contain real human meat - but there is a long-reaching chain of human interaction for every product before it even reaches the shelves.
Here's a Soylent Green sticker on a Pepsi machine. A multimillion (billion?) dollar industry based purely on shilling sugar water to an addicted crowd.
On my way to the grocery store, I was presented with a great opportunity.
How could I resist? Maybe when the driver finds the sticker he-or-she will realize that the use of a civilian HUMMER is a large contribution towards creating the bleak dystopian future depicted in the movie. Of course, most likely it will just fall off the next time they get a car wash, but one can hope.
Finally made it to the grocery store. I had originally planned on grabbing some chicken, but changed my mind upon seeing ground beef. I specifically chose the 20% fat one.
It really reminded me of the scene from Fight Club where Tyler Durden explains how he renders liposuctioned fat into soap to sell back to people. Eugh. Hopefully I made some other people think too.
Corn oil is made from corn. Olive oil is made from olives. From what is baby oil made? Well, how could I not take advantage of that old joke?
There it is, back on the shelf. No, I didn't buy it. So sorry.
Nor did I buy the beef. I put it back so someone else could see it and be influenced. I do hope nothing ridiculous is made from this simple project. In the "post Boston ATHF bomb scare" world in which we live it's almost impossible to overestimate how silly some peoples' reactions can be.
I regret not being able to hang around long enough to see anyone pick up the package. The place was swarming with employees and the last thing I wanted to do was draw too much attention to it. People have such a tendency to over react.
Here's the sticker on a McDonald's drive-through window. Yes I did patronize these businesses before I made them art (if you will). It was the first time I've eaten McDonald's in probably a year. Eugh. I think if there was any human in the McNuggets I bought it probably would've been the only real meat in there - hooray for mechanically separated chicken mash slurry artificially impregnated with binders and water fillers.
Here you can see the bored cashier more or less staring at me wondering what in the heck I was doing. She reminded me of the scientists in the dystopian future of Twelve Monkeys.
Update: A lot of readers have complained that the label looks too generic and fake. Well, let me assure you I did that on purpose. It was supposed to be a campy prank to get people to think about their food, not a slick hidden message to confuse "norms" and titillate geeks. Still, while I aimed for the former the latter isn't a bad idea either. So I did put together one that looks a bit more polished and about half of the size of the first one.
Click on whichever one you prefer to download a PDF page for your own use. I humbly request you share photos of your deeds with me so I can post them here. FYI you can buy a nice pack of "white full sheet labels" from Avery for about $10 (product code #5265).
Update: The submissions are starting to roll in! So far I've received some great pictures from Cindy and Scott who have both printed out their own Soylent Green "classic" stickers and photographed them.
Above is Scott's picture, with the ever entertaining Soylent Green sticker stuck on some sort of...refrigeration...device. Thanks! Now everyone should go harass him in the Forum.
Below are Cindy's great set of photos. Cindy says, "I work in the emergency department of a hospital and spent my shift placing labels on various items. The first is a coworker's cheezits, the next is a box of donuts in the doctor's lounge(sorry it's blurry, I had to go fast so no one knew what I was up to!). The third is an MD I work with, he's a good sport. He actually wore the sticker for part of his shift. The saline pic is funny because we use it on patients. The last one is my husband's tooth whitening kit. He didn't think it was funny. Where's people's senses of humor? Anyway, hope you enjoy these, I had a great time with them and have printed a bunch for my friends who love them as well."