Big Opening Event was a Black Cube Alumni Project. Presented at the 2020 SPRING/BREAK Art Show, the project featured a video installation that critiqued Amazon's widespread commercial development. The Alumni Program is part of our organization’s efforts to keep ongoing and supportive relationships with our former Artist Fellows. Nina Sarnelle was a 2017 Black Cube Artist Fellow.
Big Opening Event was a satirical video installation by alumna Nina Sarnelle presented at the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in Los Angeles, California. The exhibition comprised a large flatscreen monitor surrounded by hundreds of empty, used Amazon boxes, and featured a commissioned thirty-minute visual and auditory "essay."
The video included found internet footage of news anchors reporting balloon drops that marked historic occasions, American politicians touting job creation, and corporate Amazon commercials. Written and performed by Sarnelle, the accompanying musical score intermixed existing audio with sound recordings of the artist’s own manipulated voice reciting statistics about the global ecommerce giant. In the film's final scene, five hundred Amazon "Smile" boxes rained from the ceiling of a warehouse like empty promises, emphasizing the complex relationships between politics and economic development that underwrite voracious, and nearly unregulated, mega-deals between corporations. To produce this scene, the artist collected Amazon boxes from all over the United States, emphasizing the company's ubiquitous reach to American consumers.