Monument of Sugar

 
 

16mm film essay, silent, colour, 67 min., 304 sugar blocks, 2007


Following the discovery that a large amount of European sugar ends up outside of Europe, we embarked on a research trip to investigate the European subsidised sugar trade. We travelled to Nigeria to purchase European excess sugar cheaply and to ship it back home. To elude the European trade barrier for sugar imports we made use of a minimal artistic intervention and transformed the sugar in situ into a monument. In this way we could submit our import application under the Uniform Commercial Code Law 9703, which applies to all monuments and original artworks regardless of the material in which they are produced.

The material result of this research, two groups of sugar modules, is shown together with a film essay, which charts our travels and investigations into the sugar trade. Slowly running titles narrate the obstacles we faced to find out more about the sugar trade as well as the difficulties we encountered in the production of the monument. These running titles are intersected by documentary footage exploring, in long slow takes, hidden production landscapes of global trade, like crop fields, sugar refineries, flow-bands, harbours, and the different sites where we performed our drifting studio practice.


Download publication Monument of Sugar / Monument en Sucre that contains the scrolling titles of the film in English with a French translation.


'Monument of Sugar - how to use artistic means to elude trade barriers' was supported by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and VSB Fund.

'Monument of Sugar - how to use artistic means to elude trade barriers' was co-produced by VRIZA. Supported by the Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture and VSB Fund.