MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA * MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA * MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA * MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA * MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA * MARIA ORCIUOLI * PIERRE DIMITRI MEKA *

tomato
propaganda

* Caporalato system * Southern Italy * Tomato supply chain * Price bidding game * Labor * Human rights * Migration * Social and environmental sustainability *

* Caporalato system * Southern Italy * Tomato supply chain * Price bidding game * Labor * Human rights * Migration * Social and environmental sustainability *

eat the

rich

Maria skilfully interweaves the art world with social denunciation, creating an engaging and thought-provoking experience. Thus, Tomato Propaganda – The Self-Destructing Contract was born. In southern Italy, the caporalato system in the tomato supply chain has long been associated with labour exploitation and human rights violations. Maria decides to challenge this reality and, at the same time, engage the audience in deep reflection on issues such as the culture of consumerism, the influence of technology on human subjectivity, and environmental sustainability. At the heart of the project is a board game, an interactive experience involving three to ten players. One of them is the “seller,” while the others are “consumers.” The goal of the game is to reach an agreement on the price of a can of tomatoes so that it is not crushed under a hydraulic press. This is not just a game, but a metaphor for the complex dynamic between consumers, producers, and environmental sustainability. 

 

In addition, Dimitri’s firsthand experience endows the project with additional depth and significance. In Italy, a country that ranks as the world’s third-largest tomato producer, the grim reality of worker exploitation persists due to the caporalato and unethical practices among some processors and growers. These labourers, often immigrants, face unjust wages, abysmal working conditions, absence of contracts, and even forced labour. Recent data from Italy’s National Labour Inspectorate indicates a surge in irregular employment practices, with over 68% of southern Italian companies employing such practices between 2020 and 2021, particularly in agriculture. Beyond labour issues, there’s a troubling prevalence of illegality within the industry, raising doubts about the authenticity of the “Made in Italy” label due to the use of non-Italian tomatoes. Addressing these challenges requires a commitment to fair pricing that reflects actual production costs, coupled with awareness campaigns to educate stakeholders about labour rights and ethical practices.

* Caporalato system * Southern Italy * Tomato supply chain * Price bidding game * Labor * Human rights * Migration * Social and environmental sustainability *

* Caporalato system * Southern Italy * Tomato supply chain * Price bidding game * Labor * Human rights * Migration * Social and environmental sustainability *

Maria Orciuoli

Maria Orciuoli (Avellino, *1989) is an artist and cultural publicist living and working between Berlin and Linz. After an MA in International Management, she now attends Interface Cultures at Kunstuniversität Linz (AT). Maria participated in numerous residencies, including Yoichi Ochiai’s Digital Nature Lab at the University of Tsukuba (JP), and at the dwhX space at Das Weisse Haus (AT). Her works have been showcased in Ars Electronica Festival (AT), Quantified Perspectives (LU), Speculum Artium (SI), PUSH UX (DE) among others.  She also runs KO-HUM, a communication agency promoting artists and cultural producers working in music and performing arts.

 

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Pierre Dimitri Meka

Pierre Dimitri Meka (Bangui, *1983) is an activist and cultural mediator. He arrived in Italy as an asylum seeker in 2016, and since then has been actively involved in various human rights initiatives, such as the Su.Pr.Eme Italy program, aimed to combat labor exploitation in agriculture and address the issue of Caporalato, funded by the European Commission. With a background in Political Science, Pierre currently serves as a trade unionist at the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL) in the city of Avellino, focusing on issues related to cultural mediation and assists in the process of regularizing immigrants and facilitating their integration.

 

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