Yoshua Okón was born in Mexico City in 1970 where he currently lives. His work has been described as “a series of near-sociological experiments executed for the camera, blends staged situations, documentation and improvisation and questions habitual perceptions of reality and truth, selfhood and morality.”
Okón challenges the assumptions we make as so many of us live our lives oblivious of the reality beyond the bubble. He pops the bubble of everydayness. We are forced to confront, and hopefully question, our lives.
For Freedom Fries Okón convinced a McDonald’s manager to grant him access for an overnight shoot at a location in Mexico City. Next, he convinced a customer to participate as a model.
What follows is a surreal experience – both for the viewer of the video and surely for the McDonald’s customer:
The customer is trapped, turned into an obese human animal in a fast food zoo.
An employee, mindlessly polishing the glass, is reduced to the role of a machine – a dehumanized worker. Okón highlights the perils of consumerism – an insidious system that takes over our lives and destroys us while we remain, for the most part, unaware.
Our “freedom” is anything but free.
In his own words, Okón tells us that “Freedom Fries documents the consequences of an economic and political system that has eroded our agency so deeply that we have lost not only the connection with other species and other human beings, but we have also become alienated from our own corporality.”
What troubles Okón is the level of our ignorance. How can we vote if we don’t even know what is going on?
What can the artist do to awaken us from our despair?