115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Soylent and Juicero: Conspicuous and Invisible Consumption

Jeremy Tirrell, University of North Carolina, Wilmington

This paper uses theories of materialist rhetoric to examine how the food product Soylent and the cold juice press Juicero foster consumption that is simultaneously conspicuous and invisible. Although both products function as overt performative lifestyle markers, they obscure their nutritional elements and the material aspects of their production through divergent abstractions.

Proposal: 

This paper examines how the food product Soylent and the cold juice press Juicero foster consumption that is simultaneously conspicuous and invisible. Although both products function as overt performative lifestyle markers, they obscure their nutritional elements and the material aspects of their production through divergent abstractions. This paper views these items, their associated promotional materials, and their concomitant narratives through theories of materialist rhetoric to assert that Soylent, in keeping with its name, offers the figuratively ghoulish consumption of inert matter through a posthuman reduction of bodies to algorithms. Alternately, Juicero advances a metaphorical vampirism by promising continued health through the ingestion of fresh, living organisms—implying an atavistic return to a primal mode of life paradoxically enabled by advanced technology.

Topic Area: