The concept “live your best life” or “LYBL” can spur us to live out our best behavior or cause us to squander it into the winds. The cognitive dissonance we experience with what we want for the world and what we want for ourselves is at the heart of LYBL. We want the earth to be clean and healthy, but we also want our packages cheap, convenient, and delivered within 24 hours from Amazon prime.
In “LYBL Spectator in the Commons” Cox has created a half-gone and wasted status accessory and potentially undrinkable iced coffee as the protagonist in a story still being written. Its parts are all contentious given that the container and straw are plastic and major ocean pollutants and the coffee is a globally fraught commodity requiring a lot of energy. These soon-to-be extinct elements compose a significant part of the American ideal: a sated consumer with an iced coffee in one hand and a screen in the other. LYBL aims to challenge Garrett Hardin’s notions of “the tragedy of the commons.” Garrett claims: “Freedom in a commons brings ruin to all.” This as a concept seems to present the need for reinforcing hierarchies within groups. Why does it have to be that way? How can we think about thresholds of accountability and entitlements when it comes to what is good for us all? How does private ownership affect social gift economies and personal cultural capital within communities?
LYBL features an immersive installation in which cushion paintings are displayed on the walls of the gallery and fastened into sculptural furniture skeletons. Each image depicts our beloved iced coffee protagonist as a spectator taking in awe-inspiring or difficult artworks. The cushions will be for sale and when purchased, can easily be removed with a screwdriver.