Consumer Intervention

Consumer Intervention was on display at B-galleria during November 2020. That exhibition was an artistic intervention to my consumption, and the beginning of becoming aware of how my consumption habits influence the world and what kind of problems are associated with it. Through my artworks, I explore my consumption habits, my beauty products and clothes, and look at myself as a part of the global market economy. I interrupt my normal consumption behavior by making an inventory of my wardrobe and by storing and washing the cotton pads I use in removing make-up. Doing otherwise moves me away from the usual ways and opens up new perspectives. What kind of a world do I help build with my consumption choices? Is it possible to act otherwise in a capitalist society, and what could be a meaningful way for me? The exhibition consisted of three artworks which I was able to create by the support of TOP-Säätiö and The Finnish Cultural Foundation, Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund.



Seinään projisoituu kaksikanavainen video, jossa vasemman puoleisessa kanavassa on lähikuva silmästä ja oikeanpuoleisessa kanavassa lähikuva varpaista.

Repeating Performances: Body Control, 2020. 73 x 229 cm. A one channel video (countinuous loop, stereo). Installation view.

In this one channel video there is three acts which express the passage of time and control of the body. There is, side by side, a video about a beauty routine and an animation about a product or a body part related to beauty routines. I photographed my perfume bottle, hairbrush, and toes on daily basis during a few months for creating animations from pictures. I also recorded some beauty routines that I used to do in my everyday life. In the first act is a video of applying deodorant on an armpit next to an animation of an emptying perfume bottle. In the second act the video is of plucking eyebrows, and the animation presents the growth of nails and hair on toes. In the third act is a video of hands braiding hair and an animation of a hairbrush being covered with more and more hair. Audio on this video is based on natural sounds from these beauty routines.


Seinään on ripustettu näyttö, jossa on video vaatteiden punnitsemisesta, A4-kokoisia tulosteita, joissa on tilastoja vaatteista, sekä tekstiilityö.

Intervention I: Inventory of My Wardrobe, 2020. A textile work, prints and a one channel video. Installation view.


Seinälle on ripustettu tekstiilityö, jossa on henkareita rivissä ja henkareista roikkuu vaaleita kangassuikaleita.

Intervention I: Inventory of My Wardrobe, 2020. A textile work. Width 495 cm. Cotton fabric and string, recycled sheet and coat hangers, wood and textile color. Installation view.

I made an inventory of my wardrobe in 2020 which was an intervention to my conventional consumer behaviour. Usually I buy clothes from shops, wear them until I leave them in my wardrobe or throw them away. I barely give a thought for the lifecycle of clothes: where these garments come from and where they end up after they are discarded. Instead of that I made a thorough inventory of accessories, clothes, and footwear I owned at that time and weighed them one by one. Then I created an artwork based on it. This work consists of four parts: a textile work, prints, a one channel video, and Instagram posts.

The textile work represents the owning time of clothes and the volume of my wardrobe which was altogether 275 garments. Each fabric strip represents one or more garment. The light part of the strip stands for the time when a garment has been in use, and the dark part of the strip express the time when a garment hasn't been in use anymore. In the fabric strip 10 cm equals one year as a fabric strip is a timeline. Strips are labelled with the year garments were purchased.

In prints I present my garments through weight. How many grams of different materials are there? How many grams of garments were manufactured in various countries? How many grams from various manufacturers are there? I also analyze the usage and purchase of my clothes through printed pie charts. Between the prints is a one channel video in which the contents of my wardrobe are weighed. The scale, and the act of weighing are a symbolic element in the ensemble. What is actually weighed?

Links to prints:
Prints 1, weigh
Prints 2, pie charts

Instagram posts present single garments with the detailed information and a picture. In those posts are customized hashtags, like #whomademyclothes and #whatsinmyclothes which are part of the social media campaign run by the Fashion Revolution movement. On one hand these posts are examples of what a consumer can do to urge forward sustainable fashion industry. On other hand these posts are activism that challenge clothing manufacturers for more transparent business activity. These posts were published on @riikkas_wardrobe-profile.


Seinään projisoituu kaksikanavainen video, jossa vasemman puoleisessa kanavassa on lähikuva silmämeikin poistoon käytetystä vanulapusta ja oikeanpuoleisessa kanavassa lähikuva likaisten vanulappujen pesusta vadissa.

Intervention II: Cotton, 2020. Adjustable size. A one channel video (00:23:44, stereo) and handwashed used cotton pads. Installation view.

This artwork consists of a one channel video and a pile of cotton pads which have transformed into cotton wool in the process of handwash. To create this work, I photographed dirty cotton pads which I had used in removing make-up, and then I recorded the process of washing and drying these cotton pads. This act was an intervention to the conventional way to use cotton pads. Usually, I draw a cotton pad from a package, use it for removing make-up off my face and toss it into a bin without pondering the origin and lifecycle of the cotton in the pads. Instead of this I used cotton pads as a subject and material in an artwork. This artwork draws attention into the consumption of daily commodities and the waste of disposables.

In this artwork pictures of dirty cotton pads are shifting slowly and used cotton pads are washed and dried in a one channel video. A pile of fragmented cotton pads is on a pedestal in front of the video. The audio of the video is based on the natural sound from processing the used cotton pads.