Autobiography of Consumption

Take a moment to remember where your most recent receipts came from. Mine are from Costco, Value Village, Home Depot, Giant, Candyland, and Trader Joe’s. What if we saved six months worth of receipts and stitched them together? How long would they be? What would our purchases say about our habits? What would they say about our culture at large? Would they define us? What is our autobiography of consumption?

Artist Nicole Salimbene saved all her receipts for six months, sewed them together, and assembled them into a set of five scrolls. Onto the receipts, she printed original digital photographic images of power structures, energy use, and nature. Each scroll is 30 feet long. Together, they are 50 yards long. That’s half a football field. The length is overwhelming. The receipts go on and on, asking us about what we consume. How much? Where? Why? Aren’t scrolls supposed to contain sacred texts? Has consumption become our national religion?

Autobiography of Consumption, a 3rd Ward finalist, is exhibited at the Tubman-Mahan Gallery at the Center for Green Urbanism in Washington DC.

For more of Salimbene’s work, check out

Published in: on September 27, 2011 at 12:37 pm  Comments (3)  
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