Wondermart was a collaboration betwen writer/performer Matt Rudkin, lead artist Silvia Mercuriali and composer Tommasso Perego. This interactive audio tour sends solo or paired participants on a journey of rediscovery around the familiar surroundings of their supermarket.
Inspired by French anthropologist Marc Augé’s concept of ‘non-places’ and initially growing out of Mercuriali’s instruction-based work with performance company Rotozaza, Wondermart explores the subtle ways in which the layout and design of these standardised ‘non-places’ (supermarkets) induce the shopper to abandon their list and act on impulse (as disturbingly portrayed by Vance Packard’s 'Babes in Consumerland’ in The Hidden Persuaders more than half a century earlier).
By revealing and playing with instructional, auto-theatrical techniques, Wondermart creates the opportunity to inhabit this commercial setting for decidedly non-commercial reasons. Observed reality is reinterpreted through the guiding narrative of the audio track heard through earphones, making participants the covert witnesses of a private spectacle, and the shoppers around characters in a secret fiction, oblivious and totally undisturbed. Whilst veering away from simplistic didacticism, Wondermart’s aim is to create the ironic tension of servicing this egocentric desire to be cast as the central voyeur, whilst engendering a greater affection for fellow shoppers and an urge for community spirit. It was characterised in The Herald, Scotland, as, ‘a delicious anti-consumerist meditation through the dream state of aisles ... a quirkily situationist amble’.
Wondermart had numerous public performances following its first public presentation in 2009 at the Battersea Arts Centre including, in the same year, the Burst Festival, Dublin and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; in 2010, at the Mois Multi Quebec City (French translation); Gallery of Contemporary Art, Colorado Springs; Brisbane Powerhouse, Australia; and Kampnagel, Germany (German translation). In 2011 and 2012 further presentations took place in Belgium, Canada, Germany, France and the UK.