The Generalized Axiom of Revealed Preference (GARP) is an economic equation that attempts to analyze individuals’ purchasing choices to understand the influence of policy decisions on consumer behaviour. Revealed preference theory tries to understand the preferences of a consumer among bundles of goods, within general budget constraints. For instance, if a consumer buys bundle of goods A over bundle of goods B, where both bundles are equally affordable, it is revealed that they then directly prefer A over B. As a concrete example, if a person chooses 2 apples/3 bananas over an affordable alternative 3 apples/2 bananas, then it can be said that the first bundle is revealed preferred to the second. It is assumed that this preference remains fixed, and that the consumer will only shift their purchasing habits to the second bundle if the first becomes unaffordable.
Revealed preference theory attempts to provide predictable data to lobbyists and policy makers so that incentives, subsidies, and tariffs might be put in place to generally sway consumer behaviour, but how might one think material preferences outside of this formula? How do we attempt to explain why someone might prefer a banana to an apple in the first place? The exhibition proposes that materials, objects, and things might be capable of expressing their own seductive agency and that the preference of a subject for one object above another emerges through this encounter. The works and artists included have practices where, at times, the materials being worked with take the lead in decision making processes, revealing a complicity between artist and material.
Cindy Ji Hye Kim