This was made in a state of panic as I was beginning my Junior year of college at the Pratt Institute. I finally had that moment of realization about the immense amount of debt that I had gotten myself into, and I had developed this sense of emptiness around my education. I needed to voice my thoughts.
I love the idea of comparing the pressure of succumbing to the standard route of the higher education in order to pursue a non-guaranteed semi-successful artistic career to the pressure of the French Monarchy on the peasants of the Ancien Regime. Haha.
Who knows if it’s actually true, but I’m sure you have heard the story about Marie Antoinette exclaiming “let them eat cake!” in response to hearing complaints that the peasantry couldn’t afford to buy bread. The catch being that cake is actually far more expensive than bread, and really it just showed how out-of-touch the Queen was, or rather just plain insensitive (don’t get me started on out-of-touch officials).
Anyway, it felt right to title the piece “Antoinette’s Cake” (or, Gateau Antoinette) because of the insensitivity toward students of the educational institutions (namely, Pratt) when it comes to the cost of attendance. Often times the only resolution that is provided by the institution in terms of aiding the student beyond measly need- and merit-based scholarships is to just go attend a different school. And so the ultimatum is revealed: continue spending vast amounts of money in order to receive a degree from a renowned private institution (in hopes the name alone will assist a most-likely mediocre portfolio), or spend far less money on the institution, at the cost of being overshadowed in the job search by sometimes less talented artists, whom could simply afford the ridiculously expensive piece of paper that we call a degree.