Wacdonalds

Public Space Intervention Design 

Duration
4 Weeks Fall 2019

 

Professor

Jill Miller

 

Process + Methods 

Public Art, Public Space Observations, Ethnographic Research,  Woodwork, Video Editing, Brand/ Ad Design 

Project Summary: 

In Fall 2019, I worked with a team of 4 on a public art design project – Wacdonalds, that aimed to shed light on the unhealthy food that has been marketed to children as healthy and cheap. We wanted to put the burden of offering healthy options on the fast-food corporates and make light of this issue by designing a satirical happy meal box that would be placed on top of a trash-bin across Downtown Berkeley, Macdonald's store on Shattuck + University Ave. 

Project Goal

  • Bring awareness to the issue of food insecurity, bring to light fast-food giants unjust agenda to prey on those who may be food insecure and provide resources on healthy and cheap alternatives 

  • Demand accountability from those responsible for the institutionalization of poor health and educate the public in recognizing that the issue is difficult both to identify as a social wrong and to redress as it stems from a combination of market forces + government policy. 

Area of Focus

Conventional wisdom holds that food consumption is a matter of private choice and free will, but blaming individuals for their own health problems obscures the structural nature of food oppression. We learned that food oppression is a form of structural subordination that builds on and deepens pre-existing disparities along race and class lines, and the fast-food industry and the government are complicit, in varying degrees, in the oppression that results from the fact that the consequences of their actions fall heaviest on certain vulnerable groups.

Ideation + Design

“Wacdonald's Happy Meal” project is attached to the trash bin on Shattuck and University corner facing Mcdonalds, aiming to satirize and expose the fast-food giant’s harmful practices by delivering the message that “Mcdonalds is feeding you trash!”. Our final design consists of three main elements informed by our site observations, and we deployed our project in Downtown Berkeley for two afternoons + interviewed participants for their feedback and thoughts. 

Deployment

We deployed the project for 2 afternoons, observing people's interaction with the piece and interviewing some of the participants and their thoughts. There were some meaningful talks about how public art engages active social conversations, and "who is it really to blame?". Some unexpected interactions included: people taking stickers and leaving, many stickers were placed on the line of the sticker poll, and the piece has caught the attention of many drivers and bus passengers. From the findings of our deployment, we are prompted to question if we could be even more sensible with our approach to a public provocation like this? Could we have narrowed our scope from addressing food security and fast food institutions to just the corporations themselves? 

Watch our Project Video Here!

Meet the Wacdonald's Team!