Creative Consumption: Art About Eating on Instagram

Woolley, Dawn ORCID logoORCID: and Worth, Zara (2022) Creative Consumption: Art About Eating on Instagram. In: #FOODINSTAGRAM: Identity, Influence, Negotiation. University of Illinois Press, Illinois, pp. 101-112. ISBN 9780252086540


This chapter explicates how Instagram has figured as a site, subject, and medium in our respective and collaborative art practices. Instagram, and specifically food on Instagram, is still a relatively unexplored subject within art practice. [Im]moral Food (Woolley & Worth, 2019), Wishbook (Woolley, 2015-), A drawing made by cutting up my body weight in celery (Celery Drawing) (Worth, 2016-17) and FEED (Worth, 2017) explore cultural and gender politics attached to photographs of food on Instagram. The selected works are underpinned by a concern with the ideological imperatives attached to certain raw foods and food commodities, and how these rhetorics are exploited and ‘shared’ by brands and individuals on Instagram. The role of accompanying hashtags will also be explored: how they sparingly dictate approved behaviours, also serving to affirm allegiances with virtual communities bound by these shared values through incantation like repetition of use. Through a collection of appropriated Instagram posts [Im]Moral Food illustrates popular binaristic divisions of food into “good” or “bad”, such as posts using #cleaneating and #eatdirty. The resulting slideshow demarcates the visual identity and linguistic tropes attached to contemporary moralising rhetoric around food, which has become a mainstay of social media platform Instagram’s pictorial oeuvre. The quasi-religious undertones of such content and the food commodities featured will also be explored in relation to Woolley’s Wishbook. In Wishbook individual commodities are presented to highlight gendered ideologies implicit in commercial branding practices on Instagram. Identity and morality attached to food will also be discussed in comparison to Celery Drawing which examines the ideologies attached to raw foods as opposed to food commodities. The chapter will close with a reflection on FEED; a literal representation of the consumption of identity through the ingestion photographs of consumables, which emphasises the divorce between food and bodily nourishment which occurs when photos of food are shared on Instagram.

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