Everyday Dairy: Milktastic! (Focus Group), 2019, documentation photos. Photo credit: Sarah Walker

Everyday Dairy: Milktastic! accumulated in a mock-focus group activity where I performed as a consumer marketing representative for the fictional corporation, “Everyday Dairy”. In advance of the session, I produced a factsheet detailing the production of Australian Dairy and the lifecycles of the animals fuelling the industry. All information included in the factsheet was taken directly from existing industry websites. During the focus group, I explained to the audience that their role in the session was to assist in the development of a “Transparency in Dairy” factsheet. Participants were asked to read through the sheet and blackout (redact) any information that made them feel uncomfortable, sad, angry or confused.

My goal was to create a scenario in which participants were asked to define and confront the uncomfortable space between the truth and their desired truth. By shifting the responsibility for action onto the audience, I hoped they would engage more deeply with the information presented in the factsheet. Throughout the performance and the feedback session, I became increasingly aware of the significance of performing as an authority figure and co-opting the language of the industry. The constructed scenario placed the audience in a somewhat uncomfortable position where participants reported feeling distressed to be made complicit in industry censorship, while simultaneously grappling with the realisation that they were contributing to these industry practices through their consumer choices.