You might just find a hand grenade … and experience some of Vincent Rossi’s supermarket installation art.

Rossi, a controversial artist, wants to give people food for thought over what they buy and what they eat

Originally from Philadelphia, the artist who usually spends his time designing and creating sets for the Washington Opera wanted to highlight the “terrorist” paranoia felt by many in the US capital.

Five months ago, he decided to address the issue.

Infected milk

Evil virus mutates and spreads on
milk shelf

Approaching the milk section of a Washington store, he created some scary and deformed looking growths on the containers. “The reaction was genuine fear”, Rossi told Aljazeera.net.

Serious panic at the store may have also been increased by the circulation of bogus email warnings, predicting an imminent biological weapon of mass destruction attack.

Washington's citizens were informed that "the Centre for Disease Control has issued a ‘code orange’ for the nation's dairy supply … Symptoms of infection are immediate and severe. The first sign of an infection is loss of bowel control, followed by fits of hysterical laughter and finally the vomiting of your liquidated stomach … Customers are being asked to be on high alert for suspicious activity in the dairy isle at your local supermarket."

The safety catch was on

Rossi points out that heightened security warnings, like Code Orange, do nothing but add to confusion and prejudice.

Ignorance

But reaction on peoples faces even terrified the artist – who feared the FBI or CIA might actually want to arrest him. And no, he did not have permission from the supermarket management.

Speaking to Aljazeera.net from Virginia on Monday, Rossi said: “Let’s face it, only 10% of those who live in the capital actually have passports - the fear they have comes from ignorance … to the extent that some won’t even use their commonsense.”

The reaction to supermarket installation art had been different in London a few months earlier.

Trolley tumour received mixed
reaction

Rossi helped a British shopping trolley grow a hideous tumour – and then went shopping with it. A few customers had a good laugh, but amazingly “some people were quite annoyed”.

Dodging a question about future supermarket installation art exhibitions, shoppers may be lucky enough to come face to face with it at any time.

Rossi has had his work exhibited in six states in the US, Britain and most recently in Indonesia.