Live IKEA visualizes and narrativizes the effects of the carefully constructed shopping experience created for IKEA customers from an embodied, globalized perspective. This perspective is unique to our contemporary moment in global late-Capitalism in that it straddles the transnational impact of Scandinavian functional design on the one hand, and the aspirational values of middle-class consumers in emerging economies on the other.

Live IKEA was a performance/exhibition at the IKEA Tampines in Singapore in April 2013. My artistic collaborator, Swedish anthropologist Dr. Johan Lindquist, and I moved into the first model apartment on the main showroom and transformed it into a fully functioning portrait studio using only materials available within the store itself. We used rugs for backdrops, desk lamps and paper shades for studio lighting, and created a photographic soft box light using a white patio sun umbrella.

Johan and I lived in the store for three days making portraits of shoppers and asking them to track themselves as they navigated through the store on tabletop maps of the store. We met people who planned to spend the day there and people who couldn’t wait to get to the exit.