"Fortune is often looked for like a hat found on the head."
Diamond Fortune Cookie manufactured in Oyten Germany
“All you ever want to get may be a version of what you had before or had all along.” (Verwoert, 2013, p.14)
I use to collect 5 fortune cookies a day when I worked at ‘BeField’ a Call Centre in Mitte, Berlin. Long, frustrating and boring days spent phoning factory-chicken-farms in Texas and asking if they’d like to do a questionnaire regarding measuring instruments. I would doodle, write about night-time shenanigans (peach toilets that became bedrooms, un-flushable eel-poos and the man with Parkinson’s in the dark room) and contemplate my housemate’s extensive collection of designer clothes. I’d look to these fortune cookies in their gold, foil wrappers. They would offer up bizarre prophecies badly translated into German and English.
Strangely, the ‘Chinese’ fortune cookie is actually of Japanese American origin, made in America in the 19th century by Japanese-Americans, it’s origin was altered during the Second World War. When it was finally taken to its “homeland” China in 1989, it was rejected on the basis that it was too American. Here we see some political conjuring to perform an illusory national identity. The fortune cookie, as much as speaking to and operating as an object of superstition and desire, also says something about transnational constructions, globilisation, half- truths and illusions.
For a group exhibition Mental Orgasm 2016, I made a Monument to Lost Fortune - a giant concrete cube in which I dropped 500 fortune cookies inside as if these fortunes would become stuck and wasted. During the opening night of the exhibition, I performed Syrupy Magic, where I drizzled syrup all over the surface of the solid grey cube, its surface becoming punctured with an oozing, gunky, sweet-smelling syrup. A crust. The girl – me – got stuck in the surface like a fly. The crust operates as a way of breaking up the hard, solid and modernist looking concrete cube and the glaze reflects and looks like a pond. The cube’s material nature is changed, making it more fluid and in the process “letting the fortunes escape out.”