The Real Thing

2010 - 2017
L 50 cm W 70 cm H 165 cm
An installation that turns Coca-Cola back into clean drinking water.

Is that brown liquid called Coca-Cola truly ‘The Real Thing’, as the company’s ‘70s’ advertisement slogan had us believe? Taking a critical look at the soft drink, Smits concluded that it is not the flavoring that is ‘real’, but its principal ingredient, water. Coca-Cola is sold and drunk the world over, even in places where clean drinking water is unavailable, despite the fact that it takes three liters of water to produce one liter of Coke. Smits reversed the manufacturing process and distilled Coke to recover pure water. He has us consider for a moment how our mindless consumerism affects the world in which we live.

Photos by Lotte Stekelenburg