Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. – Otto Von Bismarck
The inception of this project was spawned in the repeated visits to and observation of a local 7-Eleven. Specifically, it was the cooking and display of their own brand of hot dogs, sausages, and taquitos, done in a machine known as the hot dog roller grill. An immensely clever device, for it provides a gentle and continuous heating surface in which any and all cylindrical ‘tube food’ can quietly go about the task of rotating and heating slowly but evenly, not too unlike the rotisserie oven. But in this case the food is in constant contact with an ever-changing surface. This creates the added bonus of never having to ‘flip’ or move the food, while at the same time, showcasing the food as it slowly shows all sides of itself over and over. It was in the observation of this beautiful machine, in which some simple, but provocative, questions came to mind.
The questions became:
How long has that food been on those rollers?
They sure must have rotated a lot by now?
I wonder how many times they have rotated?
If this food rotates in the rollers like humans run on tread mills, I wonder how far they have gone?
I wonder how far these hot dogs have traveled?
The last whimsical question of: how far has this piece of food traveled on the cooker, set against the context of the more important question of: where is our food coming from (and the many questions this opens up: Is it possible to really understand this? What are the ramifications of this, in terms of environment, health, politics, economics, etc.?), is what is at the foundation of this project.
In the spirit of the traditions of the Slow Food, Open Source, and Sustainability movements (and with a nod to all the novel, if often impractical, experiments with alternative energy that have become part of the vernacular of Rube Goldberg creativity, fringe science, and garage tinkerers everywhere), we endeavor to make our own brand of sausages/hot dogs cooked and propelled by a vehicle designed for the 01SJ Biennial Green Prix. Through the use of various information technologies, we will strive to tell the complete story of the Slo Dog, from the seminal origins of its ingredients through the actual tracking of its mileage, as it makes its way along the Green Prix route – a journey in tasty transparency.
Commissioned by ZER01 for the 3rd 01SJ Biennial, and presented with the support of the James Irvine Foundation.