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Bri Wenke curates an immersive exhibition with live installation and original paintings in Charleston examining the complex layers of Consumption.


to be leavers, rather than takers 

an immersive exhibition + curation of work to encourage curiosity + creativity

Consumption aims to engage the undertones of a much broader picture. In our modern world, we can easily identify our consumption; we can see the ruin, feel the chaos, we can hear the dissonance.  We are motivated to to push boundaries and generate a pause; because we believe awareness is the most vital component for collective change.  

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Our independent and immersive exhibition was an exploration of what lies at the root of this disharmony.  It’s very obvious to look out at our world and say, we over-consume material goods, many of us are unhappy, we’re abusing our planet, etc.  While these statements are true, where do they stem from?  What underlying issue is bleeding these symptoms?

The work feels like an exploration of self confrontation, a gaze into the black mirror, so to speak, a sober look at what we’re masking.

Consumption Live Installation

Acknowledging first, that consuming is not the essence of who we are. We have a long prehistory of problem solving and creating within the harmony of the rest of the world. Our ancestors were not consumers. Their mere existence depended on the constant flow of problem solving and innovation. As human beings, creating is an integral part of who we are. However, in this modern age, we only assign ‘creativity’ to the academic artist, one of our culture’s most tragic barriers to entry. 


We have reached a different standard, one so fully immersive and all encompassing we can barely see it, and disconnect feels synonymous with normalcy.  Our systems reflect this new normal and run with it.  Addictive culture encourages us to forfeit our power, to substitute the vulnerability of creativity for passivity. 

Consumption Live Installation

While we attempt to manage the sensory overload provided by our cultural demands, we are tapped out, and curiosity feels like a luxury.  Both internal and external narratives remain on autopilot, unchallenged, entire empires built upon faulty foundations.  


As we paused to sift through the unconscious stories we know as our foundation, the story of Eve came to the forefront. This story can be seen as the original consumption, and we intentionally forced viewers to interact with this narrative upon entering the exhibition. Eve represents one of the most impactful narratives woven into our fabric as a civilization.  This tale has dictated the iconic cycle of female shame over the last 2,000 years. The pinnacle of human sin, the shattering of paradise, all wrapped up in one tiny choice, to consume the apple.  While this story applies specifically to the lens and culture we were born into, it’s a theme that takes many forms across the world.

Consumption Live Installation by Bri Wenke + Sam Rueter

Stories can mark the fate of a demographic.  We consume and perpetuate subliminal stories and narratives every day, some are fictions mistaken for truths, some hold immense power over our choices and abilities to connect with one another.

Woman And Reckoning (WAR) Consumption Exhibition Charleston by Bri Wenke

Our exhibiting floral artist, Lori DeNicola, created an interactive floral garden upon entering. Titled 'Paradise', this portion of the installation is a nod to the purity of the world before consumption came to the forefront. Lush, evergreen promise of the world and its relationship to mankind, before it became fragmented.  Primal connection and presence, entanglement. 

As the viewer continues past the Garden of Paradise, our main hope was to provoke curiosity. Tapping back into curiosity means exploring our connection of duality and relation to the ‘other’— to the world around us, the mind and body, the ecosystems and earth, who we are as people. We must explore the concept of self, and have a solid foundation of this in order to connect to anything at all. Many works within this exhibition, including the installations, explore collective and individual experiences of what it means to be human. The complex, messy, and beautiful sides to it. These works, of course, have been created directly through the female lens. Strengthening our awareness is the greatest tool for change. 

The way we choose to interact with our physical world demonstrates the level of disconnect from the whole.  No one is exempt.


This begs the question: how are we interacting within our living systems?


In preparation for this exhibition, we combed the local beaches for trash, requested used items from within our local community, and saved our paint bottles for several months. The trash was then utilized within the exhibition as grouped sculptures paired with florals and greenery, creating tangible elements of dissonance and discord throughout the exhibition. We know silence and ignorance well within our culture, but how long can we ignore the undercurrents of disharmony that resonate quietly in our bones?  The body cannot lie as efficiently as the mind.