Utility Kid is a performance installation and inquiry into economic utility that plays with how one interacts with the concepts of choice, quantification, and satisfaction. Its an invitation to reflect on the desires for exponential happiness and non-satiation as they materialize in North American culture.
It is an object-based absurdist performance piece with three performers. The characters, all representing the “average consumer”, play with seven everyday objects, each hung by a string. With the hanging objects, they complete various tasks and create different visual images, all the while interjecting reflections on the utility they are generating. The performance is accompanied by a video projected behind the performers which gives short and simple definitions and examples of economic utility.
Utility Kid invites the audience to think about how they interact, use, and consume the objects and tasks in their daily lives. It offers an opportunity to reflect on the sciences and concepts that govern the majority of north American culture and to connect issues of consumerism with the societal desires of non-satiation and exponential happiness.
Utility is a term used by economists to describe the measurement of "usefulness" that a consumer obtains from consuming a good or service. Utility is an abstract concept rather than a concrete, observable quantity. The units, utils, that denote an "amount" of utility, are arbitrary, representing a relative value.
Photos by Isabella Leone
Performed by Matisse ApSimon-Megens, Guillaume Loslier-Pinard, and Kit McKeown
Sound design by Matthew Murphy
Technical assistance from Madeline Mckinnell
Exhibited at the Galereie VAV Gallery in the Materials Conductors exhibit, from November 12th to 26th 2016.