Burger King’s quasi-philosophical new slogan encourages customers to not just have it your way, but to be your way. A new art project with a message, however, is borrowing the fast-food giant’s logo to focus on people who’s “way” is being homeless.
Finnish artist Jani Leinonen has set up a Hunger King installation in Budapest that draws attention to Hungary’s conflicting policies toward the rich and the poor. Visitors choose between getting in “rich” or “poor” lines, with signage on either side revealing stats about inequality in taxes and education opportunities, fines for vagrancy, and other points. The first 50 people in the “poor” line each day are greeted with a clamshell burger box holding the equivalent of about $15, the daily minimum wage in Budapest. Visitors to the “rich” line get a fake burger and fake fries, and an appeal toward activism.
Leinonen’s interest in using fast food as symbolism in demonstrations goes way back. He debuted another incarnation of Hungry King with a wooden grill kiosk in a Helsinki shopping center back in 2009. This previous version gave visitors two menu options: a local, organic Take Away menu, or a Give Away menu, which gave away food to those in need. In 2011, the artist lead a charge to kidnap and behead Ronald McDonald–a prime example of a fast-food chain not having it their way.
Watch a video about the Hungry King project below.