The Human Body & Food~ – Simone Chen

Alright I’m beginning with a minor digression from my main point. Artists from ancient times seemed more than just painters; in fact, they looked very much like doctors. Why? Because in order to learn about the human physique, they did more, far more, than just observe from previous sketches made by “scientists”.  They actually participated in the dissection of cadavers to learn about the human anatomy.  This action clearly didn’t fit with the standard stereotype of artists, which generally portrayed them as eccentric people who paint in “their own little bubble”.  So I was rather surprised and amazed by this piece of information.

 

Back on track. Personally, I think the most interesting project mentioned during Monday’s lecture was Body Worlds. Although I was a bit disturbed by the whole plastination process, as the people in shrubs just cut up the corpses and dumped them in liquid Plexiglas as if they were pieces of meat (which they were at that point), it was also fascinating at the same time. Mainly because the whole concept of putting real models of the human musculoskeletal on exhibition for everyone to see was quite new to me. The most intriguing part of the exhibition, though, was how ‘the makers’ managed to manipulate the body slices into models of people playing sports. That was what I found the “coolest”.

 

Another project, which I would consider more disturbing than interesting, was Kittiwat Unarrom’s work with bread. Generally when we think of the word bread we think along the lines of simple white loafs, baguettes, croissants, bagels and buns. Or maybe, if you’re a bread fan, naan, focaccia, pita, pannini, or pain aux noix.  But never hand-shaped bread, or gory looking breads that take on the appearance of decapitated people!

 

In order to justify his actions Kittiwat claimed that:

“Of course, people were shocked and thought that I was mad when they saw the works. But once they knew the idea behind it, they understood and became interested in the work itself, instead of thinking that I am crazy.”  So there was an idea behind it. What could have inspired him into using such an ordinary medium to portray such gruesome artwork? According to First Coast News:“He hopes his realistic artwork will make people ponder whether they are consuming food, or food is consuming them.
“’Everyone’s life is rushed nowadays, even when it comes to eating,” he said. “When we eat, we don’t think about our health or safety, we only think of our taste buds.’”
 And I guess I do have to agree with him to some extent. I do find myself just stuffing down the food and not caring about what on earth I’m ingesting. But sometimes I do slow down and “smell the flowers” (metaphorically speaking). I do slowly chew and enjoy the flavor of my food and occasionally wonder what exactly it is I’m chowing down. His second message is:“When people see the bread, they don’t want to eat it. But when they taste it, it’s just normal bread,” he said. “The lesson is ‘don’t judge just by outer appearances.'” And that is very true. Although I’m guilty of the crime myself, I have to say that really we need to try to restrain ourselves from doing so.  

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread

http://www.firstcoastnews.com/news/strange/news-article.aspx?storyid=43707

http://www.bodyworlds.com/

 

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