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In my Honors capstone research this year, I examined unhealthy additives in processed foods found in grocery stores and fast food restaurants as well as the health problems that result in consumption. I decided to focus on 9 specific additives: refined grains, red dye 40, alcohol, soy, vegetable, peanut, canola, sunflower, and corn oil. To express my research findings, I chose to create a campus-based art installation.

Initially, I wanted to create a large painting of each additive to hang in the dining hall. I thought that each painting could have a text box near it to list the foods that contain the additive and the health issues that it causes. However, after a visit to the Hilliard Art Museum for an Honors field trip, I discovered that this idea of mine was not a true art installation. Once I had knowledge of the aspects that make a true installation, I began to brainstorm alongside ASH art teacher, Ms. Peaches Gulino, who guided me through a process which eventually led me to my finalized installation idea. 

My art installation, titled Food Flow, is on display now through the end of the school year in the ASH Upper School main hall next to the vending machine. Each aspect of the installation is made to provoke emotion in viewers as well as instill new information in them to familiarize them with harmful items in the American diet. I hope that the spectators of the installation will leave with new information of how small forgotten ingredients affect their overall well being.

The installation is meant to create a flow through the causes and effects of consuming the unhealthy additives. Starting from the very top, the nine additives are hanging: alcohol, refined grains, red dye 40, soy, vegetable, peanut, canola, sunflower, and corn oil. These are the starting points. As we move down to the effect of the additives, there are varying food products all containing an additive. Notice how some of these products are marketed to look like they are a nutritious and healthy choice. Many should look familiar to you. 

Moving further down there is a mixed media section of the installation made up of the colors of the additives, red and pink for red dye 40, white for alcohol, yellow for seed oils, and orange for unrefined grains. This section then flows down to the effect of consuming the products above them. Images representing or explaining the heart, thyroid, stomach, obesity, insulin resistance, hormones, metabolism, and inflammation finish the vertical composition to emphasize how these additives negatively affect each and every one of these aspects of human health.