In the past few years, I have discovered wholesale vegetable markets in Kolkata, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh that have wowed me with their amazing kaleidoscope of colors in display.
Vendors in these markets have an interesting technique to make their vegetables look more attractive. They cover their lamps with tinted cellophane which makes the color of their vegetables more intense and vibrant. The vendors themselves also become transformed. So, sellers of tomatoes become a bright shade of red while those hawking cucumbers look like jolly green giants. It is eerie, frightening and beautiful all at once.
As a former social scientist in a prior life, I can’t help wondering whether this simple trick can really impact their sales. The customers are surely aware of the lighting, so it would seem that they would see through this manipulation as easily as they could see through the transparent cellophane producing the color. I have come to see these simple pieces of tinted cellophane as a metaphor for all of the other “obvious” attempts to influence our purchases, votes, and life choices that are blatantly evident but nonetheless effective. From appropriate shelf placement to our association of our favorite singer with her clothing brand of choice, we are constantly being shaped into behaving in ways that we don’t choose consciously. The outcome is not necessarily bad, but has the potential to be. I see this series as a reminder that we live in a world full of tinted cellophane. [Official Website]