Caustic Crush

Paragini Amin

Caustic Crush is an interactive sculpture exploring our relationship to sugar as a source of joy, energy, and mania. It also investigates sugar's powerful role in economic, political, and social structures.

Caustic Crush uses history, symbolism, tactile and olfactory senses, motion, and audience participation to contextualize our relationship with sugar as we deal with a continuing exponential rise in diabetes in the United States. The piece centers on the turning point in world history where, due partly to the success of sugar plantations in the Americas, poorer people in England were able to afford sugar as a tasty and “cheap” source of energy. It was first largely used in tea. Its use then snowballed into the dominant role it plays today. Caustic Crush draws connections between the value system that promoted the trans-Atlantic slave trade and the one that currently supports a sugar-pushing culture.

Caustic Crush is one piece of a larger sugar exhibit that explores themes of labor, production values, emotional balance and extremes, insatiability, addiction, and the enslavement and manipulation of people.