Commodity Fetishism

Miao Tian

The purpose of this project is to create an emotional linkage between overconsumption due to our social mentality and its harmful effect .


Consumption is inevitable. It is in our nature and it is part of the whole ecosystem. However, excessive consumption is a social mentality. In our recent past, overconsumption was viewed as greed, a moral vice. In our current time however, greed is viewed rather differently. Living in our current economic society, we as consumers become further and further away from the production and waste department. Because of that consumption seems independent from the guilt of wasting someone’s hard work or polluting a piece of land somewhere. Consumers enjoy an exhilarating sensation by satisfying their greed.

For the project, instead of announcing statistic numbers of overconsumption and its effect, I’d like to have audiences experience it directly. I hope to generate an emotional linkage between our daily consumption life and the amount of waste we produce.

There are three players to participate three parts of this project: a shopper to a commercial shopping website; a consumer to a trash can controller device; a receiver to an interactive VR film. The shopping website represents the drive that pushes us to shop more and more. The trash can symbolizes the end of a product’s commercial life and the start of its waste life. The VR film visualizes waste that we don’t see. The shopper “buys” products and corresponding waste will show up in VR for the receiver. The consumer will step on a physical trash can and release the trash in VR. The receiver will endure the outcome, then the players can rotate and experience each other’s action.