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Welcome to Val-U-Mart, the first-ever artificial intelligence shopping experience. 

Our one-size-fits-all economy doesn’t work for anyone. Why should we “let the market decide” the cost of an item, when two customers might value the same item completely differently? 

Val-U-Mart is revolutionizing the shopping experience, with prices made just for you. Take a simple personality test, and you’ll find everything at the right price.

Val-U-Mart is a convenience store installation that invites us to explore how money distorts our perception of value. 

The installation will feature interactive art, traditional media, and performances and include pieces from a variety of artists.

By “shopping” in the store, participants will engage with their relationship to money and how it intertwines with power, self-worth, how we spend our time, and more.

Val-U-Mart – where everything has a price!

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Opening Reception: Jan 8, 6-10 PM

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You won’t want to miss this special night, available exclusively to our premiere shoppers! Come to our grand opening to hear live music, enjoy food & drink, and meet the Val-U-Mart founders in the flesh. Performances include:

Musician Pancho Morris

Pancho Morris is a musician and performer from Oakland, CA. The gREAT aGAIN L.P. by Pancho Morris was recorded in Oakland, CA against the backdrop of America’s political reckoning in 2016. It tells the story of self-radicalization in an America where everyone is an enemy and no one knows the truth.

The Sadness of the Supermarket: A Lament for Certain Girls

Poet Anne Lesley Selcer collaborates with guest opera singer Ariadne Owen in The Sadness of the Supermarket: A Lament for Certain Girls – “In the supermarket where hunger meets plastic wrap / in the supermarket’s sensorium, where my sadness is a strange gondolier.” Organized along the principles of Cartesian space, the supermarket separates producer from consumer and humans from one another. A product of suburbanization born of both racist red-lining and gendered structures that cordon off collective life, this rationalized promise of abundance contains anxiety, sadness, and alienation. The Sadness of the Supermarket: A Lament for Certain Girls blows up the banal emotion of the grocery to operatic proportions. Says Anne Carson in The Gender of Sound, “Woman is that creature who puts the inside on the outside.” Say Certain Girls, “The first thing everyone did / was destroy the cash registers.”

Musician Ellie DiBerardino

SF-based musician and performer (and one third of angsty folk pop outfit Smokeshow) Ellie used to write sweet love songs, but has spent the last half-decade devolving into a horrible cynic who enjoys shouting about ennui and fire. Her music has been praised for its biting couplets, its unlikable narrators, and its consistent ability to make her mom uncomfortable.

About the Installation

Co-producers Chris Swimmer, Ad Naka, & Jen Johnson are interdisciplinary conceptual artists and creative producers based in Oakland, California. They produce works on topics at the intersection of personal and political, exploring topics from consent to body image to homelessness and privilege. Their work is often experiential, inviting viewers to cross the threshold from simply observing to physically interacting with these concepts. Committed to producing works that create a platform for local artists, they solicit and feature conceptual art from a variety of collaborators.

Featured artists include Whitney Freedman, Caitlyn Kilgore, Devandra Yeazel, Justine Sun Dela Cruz, Michael Garcia, Michael Kerbow, Laura Sanford, Michelle Cutler, Inga Bard, Gabe Weis, Ana Rivero Rossi, Mo Skye, Madeline Fried, Roxanne Black, and more.