The exhibition that kills
Motivation and Purpose follows at end of proposed exhibition
This, the first draft of the exhibition, is presented as the artist, documenting notes on how he would possibly execute the exhibition.
It's important to note that a number of different styles of presenting the processes would be used to communicate the narrative. This could range from diary entries from the artist, video documentation, soundscapes, newspaper articles, letters of (most likely) rejection from potential sources and suppliers to actual specimens fulfilling their intended purpose of becoming works of art.
The exhibition has three parts which will be exhibited in three adjacent spaces.
Exhibition: The Crinimal Aminal
Demonstration: Flightless bird
Oudsthoorn is famous for its Ostriches. There used to be a flourishing Ostrich feather industry back in the twenties but the 'colorful feather fad' died down. The district however, was stuck with all these huge flightless birds. Eventually they did realize that the meat is something between beef and poultry and they continued farming them.
I've got a buddy living there who I have to contact. Darius. I want to ask him if it's possible to borrow his pick-up truck, tranquilizer gun and horse buggy to do a night raid and capture one of these birds. A male would be perfect as they are much better looking than the females. All of this would be documented with cameras. I think the soundscape would be most important.
We would then proceed to drive the bird to the docs in Cape Town where we would ship the bird to Antarctica. I have a buddy, Claus, who works on marine salvaging programs and should be able to help us out here. The idea is to keep the bird alive so I aim to spend this time with the bird in its enclosement and document my journey with it.
The reason we are shipping it to Antarctica is to give the Ostrich the once in a life time opportunity to meet his very distant cousins, the Emperor Penguin, also a flightless bird.
The pinnacle of this demonstration would be seeing this big bird with its long legs slip and slide across the icy surface. The video documentation of this is essential. The 'bird out of its cage' meme would hopefully bring in some funds to raise awareness of Ostriches suffering in Antarctica and also be spread on the internet to market the exhibition.
Once the ostrich dies it would be frozen in a solid block of ice. Similar to how we imagine a dinosaur would have been preserved in the ice age. This "block of Ostrich" needs to be shipped back to South Africa and placed in the exhibition area to thaw out over a period of time.
Method of exhibition: Demonstration: Flightless Bird
The block of ice would be place in the exhibition area which would also have an iced floor. The block of ice would slowly melt to reveal the Ostrich.
The video documentation would be projected on the ceiling. Hopefully this makes it quite hard for the audience to keep their balance and experience what the Ostrich must have experience on the ice.
Ask some guy in the suburbs to supply you with at least six pigeons that could be released into the space as well. I think Dirkie knows a guy.
There would be a webcam so that audience would be able to see the complete thawing process happen online.
The travel documentation would also be on display. In this way the audience can see who they would be able to approach whenever they would want to capture a wild animal and ship it to Antarctica.
Note to self: Would I perhaps need to inject the bird with something so that it doesn't stink too much when it thaws out? Perhaps place the block of ice in a glass cage. That might however remove the audience too much from the reality of it all.
Demonstration: Petting Zoo
I'll have to create a petting zoo myself. I was thinking to maybe do it at a gas station on a national highway, that's a little further removed from unwanted guests.
There has to be plenty of very cute animals that are typically found in a petting zoo. All of them need to be small and cute. The type children feel save with and want to touch. Bunny rabbits, ducks, geese, lambs, goats and event a little Shetland pony that kids can ride on.
I would then also capture a couple of small predators like jackals, aardwolves and perhaps a juvenile wolf or two. These animal would be hidden from view in the initial petting phase that will take place.
A school of children (perhaps some school from an impoverished area who never has such privileges) would be invited to the petting zoo along with a number of photographers and other members of the press. The children will be able to feed the animals as well as off course, ride around on the Shetland pony.
They will then be move outside the camp, told that a special presentation would happen. The wild animals would then be released into the camp to wreck havoc and tear the small animals apart.
When the climax has been reached we will use Darius's tranquilizer guns to subdue the wild animals. The children would be allowed inside the space again and instructed on the value of knowing what it is to lose something that you love and how nature works.
They will also be able to eat and taste some of the animals which they petted earlier in the form of gourmet dishes.
Method of exhibition: Demonstration petting zoo
All the predator animals who killed the petting zoo animals would have been killed and skinned. The skins would be turned into a jacket which would have photographic prints on it of the faces of the terrified kids at the moment when they viewed the petting zoo animals getting killed.
Visitors to the exhibition would be able to have their picture taken wearing the jacket with the actual tranquilizer gun used (ask Darius about this) in their hands, sitting on a Shetland pony with a guide holding the pony's reigns in a freeze frame video.
Should the guide wear a meat dress like Lady Gaga did?
The space would primarily be decorated with newspaper clippings and journal articles on the petting zoo massacre. The intensity of the photographers' faces thinking they've got the Pulitzer prize coming their way, would contrast very nicely with the children's expressions.
Note to self: You should probably get some parents with children from areas who are used to violence but are willing to make a quick buck. Make double certain that they won't be ruining their children more than they are actually going to be ruined anyway in the future.
Get air tight release forms to be signed.
Demonstration: Begging baby dog
First you'll have to buy six pedigree puppies. But really young. Build little wooden body cages for the dogs with room for their front feet and head to stick through and obviously a little hole for their business to evacuate from.
The puppies need to stay in these little vaults for at least four months. They need to develop fully deformed bodies which the body cages would cause.
After four months the bodies should be well deformed. With the front legs hopefully having developed but the spine and back legs a complete mess, they should be useful for the purpose that they were bred for.
Give these dogs to street beggars to carry with them while begging on street corners at traffic lights. They should carry these dogs with them whilst wearing hidden first person cameras allowing reactions to be documented of people in their cars and also of their day generally.
Practice a beautiful but short monologue of where they got the dog, what happened and how he/she aims to care for the dog once they're given some money.
The beggar will get the dog in exchange for the pieces of cardboard they habitually use on the street, stating their needs on it.
I will have a mock interview as a television personality impersonator with the selected beggars to ask them why they are doing what they are doing and whether it is working.
Hopefully they are able to make more money from this than their normal begging practices and follow the route of using disfigured animals rather than turning to a life of crime.
Note to self: Tell the beggars that you will supply them with dog food for the dog. Perhaps make it the really crap tasting dog food, else they're going to eat it themselves.
Can I go to jail for this? Doesn't matter. Cross that bridge when you get there.
Method of exhibition: Begging baby dog
Visitors will be able to lie down on lazy-boy chairs covered with soft fur. They will place VR masks on. The masks will allow them to see from the perspective of the beggars, what a day looks and sounds like begging with a deformed puppy.
The beggar's posters would be exhibited and on selected evenings the beggars would be in the space as well where you can give them money. They will however be enclosed in a steel cage so they won't bother you.
Once the footage needed has been obtained, the deformed beggar pets will be euthanized. They will be cremated and their ashes would be used to fertilize very rare and expensive trees like "Geelhout", Pink Ivory, Sandalwood and Agarwood trees which will be exhibited in the space as well.
With this method, either your entire corpse or your ashes are used as fertilizer which allows your remains to be passed into a tree.
Motivation and Purpose of the work: Crinimal Aminal
When I was in my first year in philosophy I took a course in phenomenology. Our lecturer asked us how we would react if we saw some rare near extinct specie caught in a poacher's trap, mutilated half to death. Without over thinking it too much, most agreed that it would be a most tragic, barbarous act and the perpetrator should be caught and punished. Her point however was to demonstrate how deceiving perception could be.
She proved her hypothesis of our imperfect human experience field by stating that, "what you actually saw was in fact not real at all, but a site specific art piece where an artist recreated this probable scenario with the utmost accuracy. What you saw was all smoke and mirrors. But you believed it. And it moved you".
It's purpose was simply to evoke in us, the feelings we would have had, had it been real.
As a young student this dislodged most of my steadfast views and I was thrust into the maelstrom of the multiplicity in meaning production. I realized how infracted our views on just about everything we believe we perceive has become. As we navigate through life we are continually faced with the possibility that 'they' might either be a friend or a secret agent sent by the government to track and monitor your movement.
The safety of 'the art zone', the knowledge that it's just a representation, created a safety barrier. Initial shock transformed to a reflective, cognitive evaluation. With the possibility of it being real, provoking a sense of disbelief in their senses, distracting observers to the point of doubt, is a license awarded to the artist in being a specialist in marring and shifting perspectives.
The following exhibition is a proposal of just such a "exploratory work". It aims to delve into how we make decisions on what actually constitutes real cruelty and what is simply an experimental piece by an artist to once more redress the borders of real and manufactured content.
The work showcases three scenarios where animals are sadistically transformed for artist purposes. The exhibit would at times just appear unnecessarily cruel, other times as serving disparate practical functions and sometimes, using playful narratives, employed to manufacture confusion in interpretations.
We want to be startled, provoked and challenged. And artists want to shock, evoke, break barriers...be remembered. The artists will vacuum pack famous people's feces, saw animals in half and embalm them, even lie around in an exhibition space among a selection of objects where one of the objects is a loaded gun and allow audiences to interact with them in which ever way they want.
The general exhibition goer will react but the critics and peers will determine it's outcome and eventually its value and success.The artists who manages to bend the rules just enough not to break them, can gain the notoriety without being expelled from the art community and branded as an 'freak show'.
The proposed exhibition, "Crinimal Aminal" is the criminal animal in each of us, being criminal to animals. It evokes, dislodges and desensitizes.
Is the artist going to recreate the ideas in the "video fx's and paper maché realm" or is he going to embark upon an all defining journey and attempt to transform himself and the artistic community right to the point of breaking.