Illegal food: Drugs.
Some are legal and more dangerous. Some are illegal for various reasons.
Many countries are decriminalizing, liberalizing, or legalizing some drugs these years: Uruguay, Portugal, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, ....
With these new freedoms, many questions appear:
-Are people informed on the effects and long term consequences of each substance?
-How to educate the public, even those who are no longer in high school?
-Do people know which ingredients each drugs should be normally made of?
-Where can they find out if harmful substances are added to it?
-Is it an economical advantage for public funds or a real population benefit to legalize drugs?
We decided to make a kiosk, half way between one that could be found in public market to sell fruits, and a drug prevention station with information pamphlets. A sun umbrella, two beach chairs, a small table, a billboard. I asked two friends to help me set it up in front of McGill University on Sherbrooke Street, at the end McGill College Avenue, in Montréal.
I purchased various capsules, small bags, drug-looking edible ingredients (tapioca starch, sugar powder, sparkling sugar, isomalt, hard colorful candies, spices, apple juice), syringes and tests tubes. The aims was to cook and design delicious placebos for these drugs and to push the boundaries of trust with the people visiting the kiosk. We changed their names for something similar. If one day the drugs were legalized and sold casually in public markets by anyone who would wat to, like one could sell fruits or socks, how could you trust the quality and trustiness of a product that can affect you so much?
The performance worked quite well. People stopped by to talk, curious. Everyone has something to say about drugs: a story, a rumor, an historical, political or technical fact, an opinion. Rare are the open conversation about this topic in public spaces, and many wanted to share their thoughts. Young Explore exchange program student group, Californian, Belgian, and Australian middle aged tourists, open-minded hippy social workers, opinionated government worker, a grandma and her granddaughter, .... Everyone added their pinch of salt and I came back from this performance more informed, with new ideas.