PATRICK MCVAY

WRITER

Interactive Art Installation: "Ketchup Smackdown"

To the average observer, this will appear to be a tasting competition intended to market tomatoey condiment; only true sophisticates will realize it is actual art! The plan is to design pairs of glass cylinders 40 feet high, filling one tube of each with ketchup, and the other with catsup. I’m thinking about 1,500 or so pairs. At precisely the same moment each hour, the cylinders will expel exactly one ounce of ketchup and one ounce of catsup. Precision here is a must! The tubes are 40 feet high and contain exactly 1,440 ounces of ketchup, and 1,440 of catsup. This means each pair of cylinders can expel their product in exact one-ounce increments, 24 hours a day, for exactly 60 days. (Hence the need for precision).

Visitors to the interactive art piece, which is going to start on February 1st of 2016 (a leap year) and end on March 31st, will have the opportunity to sample the expelled condiment. They can choose to taste the product using either little compostable plastic spoons that I will design, or an artisanal cracker (which I will also design). Then, they’ll be asked a series of questions by a computer program that reads facial expressions and selects from a bank of questions (“Which do you prefer, the ketchup or the catsup?”; “Which has better color?”; “Did it occur to you that we might have poisoned the condiment for the sake of art?”, and so forth.)

First task: Get cracker designing software. Either that, or design cracker designing software. Without the right software, I’ll have to design a cracker using graph paper, which isn’t easy to do. Next, I’ll need a large hangar in which to present the work. I’m determined to do this over the course of the specific two months of February and March, 2016. Look, I’ve already done the math for 40 foot high tubes that contain 1,440 ounces of condiment and don’t want to do more math because the cylinders can only be 10 feet high or something.

Finally, I’ll need to acquire a large supply of condiment.

Truce
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Sunday, 26 September 2021

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