The reality of animal mass slaughter for human use is a topic that is very dear to me. It is a difficult subject but then the murder of one species by another is difficult, particularly when there is a coated veneer of respectability covering immense suffering. I am not trying to engage with shock or go anywhere near ideas of Damien Hirst and the conceptual art market, which for me has more to do with art as a commodity rather than as having some particular message. HIrst was not the first artist to use animal flesh but because of his profile the language of animal flesh has become somewhat diluted in the gallery arena and there is a sense that his uber celebrity status has undermined the language of other artists in this area.
I think fashion (or sculptural ideas of fashion) as a space is interesting but this too has been used by Lady Gaga via her meat dress to in a sense undermine what could be seriously said, as her status again overwhelms complex ideas about change and simply becomes an item that might fill air time for media schedules.
For me in the sculptural ideas surrounding fashion I felt some of the most interesting things were the body as platform. The body as a supporting structure for something else appealed rather than the idea of a body simply extending out to occupy more space as such. Yes the links with architecture are interesting and the crossover with technology and new materials very clear and valid but I wanted to use the module as I did with all of them to do something more than what appeared an obvious expression of something.
This idea was linked into my previous ideas of the bandaged figure and I was thinking of ways to integrate the concept of a bandaged figure with animal parts so that the animal parts became the focus of attention rather than the figure. The bandages represented wounds, both for us spiritually as a species who do what we do to other species and as a limp gesture of help for those we abuse. The bandage is a cover as explained in previous ideas about beauty and works as a metaphor for hiding, healing and disease all elements that I address with the idea of bandage integration into notions about sculptural platforms.
This process was becoming more of a worn installation piece where the animal parts would be worn attached to the bandages and rope would be used to attach myself as sculpture to a food mixer which completed a devil's circle of human indifference to animal suffering.
The image is NOT meant to be shocking and if it is so then perhaps the butcher's shop ( which to me is a monstrous site) is something through a process of percepticide people have lost connection with. This is perhaps similar to our indifference to images we see on the news of war zones, where the idea of atrocity becomes absorbed and familiar. It loses its impact not because what is happening isn't truly awful but because we psychologically tune out the horror in order to keep functioning. I am not suggesting in this we don't have compassion as a species I am just raising question about boundaries and how we learn to visually accept some things in order to cohesively keep living as a 'sane' individuals in a society that has to function with things that are truly terrible.
The body as a platform to me seemed an opportunity to show us attached to the horror of our own deeds. This was part of the process of engaging with the module and looking at ways of exploring what could be done that might take the body into interesting areas. I wasn't drawn to practicality but drawn to progressive ideas or at least challenging ones.