Photos by Kim Sang-tae

SMSM, Energy!, 2011. Collected energy drink bottles, LED displays, mixed media, dimensions variable. Exhibited in the “Named” section of Gwangju Design Biennale 2011, curated by Cho Minsuk and Anthony Fontenot.

Composed of Sasa[44], MeeNa Park, and Sulki & Min, SMSM is an applied-art collective devoted to health and happiness. Energy! for the Gwangju Design Biennale 2011 explored the visual language and mythology of energy drink products, which are very popular in Korea.

The piece consisted of several elements: all the energy drink products we were able to buy at the highway service stations from Seoul to Gwangju, arranged in different orders such as by calorie, by mass, by popularity and by price; the LED screens showing all the slogans used to advertise the products; and the Super Hybrid Energy Drink we created by simply mixing all the seventy-seven different drinks we had collected.

At the opening performance, we offered the samples of the hybrid drink to the visitors. But before taking the samples, they had to sign a liability release agreement, so that they wouldn’t hold us responsible for any physical or mental damage that might occur to them after consuming the drink.

We advertised that our hybrid drink was the “ultimate power drink,” but obviously the claim was unfounded. The product was about imaginary functions, and how the irrational expectations could be created by design: the exhibition context, the presence of the artists, and the way the product was handled and talked about.