For the Lo-Fi Festival at Smoke Farm in Arlington, Washington, August 25 2012, I installed Jell-O (made from cows' hooves) on the ground near a stream where cows used to walk.
Aside from the simple goal of surprising and delighting the festival-goer, the project aimed to highlight the water we consume to raise commercial beef.
The process was as much science project as art concept.
JelLo-Fi was selected as one of five projects presented at Seattle's 2013 Annual Sprout Awards.
I kept a blog in order to document my research on water, beef production, and the science and history of Jell-O, and to provide a glimpse into the technical challenges involved in making it last outside on the ground in August.
JelLo-Fi | Gelatinus Vulgaris LoFilia is an installation of Jello molded in the classic 1950's form and grouped in the grass at the Rubicon Foundation’s Lo-Fi Festival at Smoke Farm.
Walking along you happen across an outcropping of colorful wiggly dessert in the grass like a strange plant or fungus.
Conceptually the project is a bit of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle (about the meat packing industry in Chicago at the turn of the century) meets Willy Wonka.
While Jello is made from rendered cows' hoofs this fact is masked by the artificial fruity flavors and cheerful colors and the way it's marketed. In addition cows are a problematic element of our agricultural system taking many resources to raise and contributing to global warming and pollution of rivers and streams.
JelLo-Fi is a gently ironic reference to the source of our food and the ecological effects of factory farming. Here the molded Jello sits directly on the ground where cows once trod thus returning the rendered cows' hooves symbolically to their source.
Since the materials deteriorate in sun, rain and air their gradual absorption into the landscape becomes an entropic sculpture unfolding in real time.