Turmeric Shooting Galleries
Text: Mantis Kane
Illustration: David Foldvari
But paradigms are changing; the formula fiddled with. Some of today’s youth move on a different trajectory. The old-school teenage rebellious rite of passage, which starts with innocent gateway drugs and ends with a life rocking binge, has being modified by over-informed hipsters, all too well versed in the pitfalls and unethical backstories of the drug world.
Ideologies have shifted from cavalier living-in-the-momentness to fastidious health consciousness. Overexposure to social media’s stream of wellbeing data makes it hard to digress from prime optimisation. Even rogues and delinquents are eating kale thrice a week and performing green tea enemas before the Sunday fast.
But a subversive streak lingers… latent wildness still bubbles under the surface.
Turmeric Shooting Galleries have been invented to provide a safe environment to act out a placebo drug addiction, minus the ills. If you're not familiar with the traditional Shooting Gallery model, it’s essentially a venue popularised in the 70’s by proper heroin addicts looking for a place to inject proper heroin. Squalid hovels, full of societies degenerates and ejectees getting a fix. Romanticised by films, bands and librarians, the Shooting Gallery has been mythologized as a hub of counterculture and creativity, often conveniently washing over the darker realities.
Tinkering with the model, the new age Shooting Gallery exchanges the opiates for Turmeric, bypassing the badness and mainlining the latest wonder drug. Where heroin defined the carefree 80’s, Turmeric represents today’s zeitgeist; the herb of the information generation; the anti-inflammatory age.
Turmeric Shooting Galleries combine the desire to be simultaneously healthy and anarchistic. Hipsters check-in via Facebook, then head to a once-rough-suburban-neighbourhood, now gentrified and hyper-inflated. Congregating in architecturally dilapidated urban squats with fellow addicts, there's a distinct sense of danger. The interior design has all the touch points of an authentic smack den, apart from the hookers, sharp edges and blood stained ceilings. Undulating psychedelic slo-mo rock is carefully selected by the gallery's art director, pumped through expensive wireless speakers in artfully lit alcoves. There’s all the paraphernalia - the needles, the syringes, the belts, the artisan spoons (all purchasable as memorabilia at reception).
The role-play of addiction is in full swing. Kids gouching on surrogate smack, iridescent yellow hedonism with no comedowns or nasty skin complaints.
The age of the experiential placebo druggy is here. Fully sanitised vice - machine washable rebellion.
The most overtly health conscious are often reformed addicts, emerging from the pits of excess, charging straight past normality into the high-grounds of purity. Switching extremes is an age-old transaction. From drug abuser to vegan user, the journey is well travelled. If you know someone that's broken through; beaten their demons; put the dragon to sleep - then you've probably been ironically driven to that very same addiction by their soapbox jibber jabber. The personal triumph, we get it. It's an excruciating foghorn of self righteousness that blows a heavy, incessant melody.
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