You Art What You Eat: Contemporary Art, Eating and the Permeable Self

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Food, like an artwork, is an external entity that causes internal changes in those who consume it. Food's aesthetic qualities are rich. We have intimate, sensory knowledge of them as they literally create and transform our bodies. While food is absorbed automatically, the absorption of contemporary art is often dependent on education, culture and/or age group. Still, there are many modes of eating that challenge us to see new possibility in much the same way that art does. Likewise, there are many artists, such as Oleg Kulick and David Hammons, who work in and with environments where art passes through the body. Finally, while eating, we partake in an action that demonstrates the seemingly inevitable condition of having to take life from other living things in order to exist. In its most extreme version, cannibalism, eating relentlessly provokes us to reconcile our desire to live with our need to feel moral. This mental tension and call to reflection is similar to what occurs in much contemporary art.


Keywords: Contemporary Art, Cannibalism, Oleg Kulick, David Hammons, Vito Acconci, Eating, Food, Access, Education, Possibility, Body, Sensory
Stream: Constructing Art Worlds
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Caroline Peters

Assistant Professor, Art Department, Colorado State University-Pueblo
Pueblo, Colorado, USA

I am a painter, video and performance artist. In my work, I reflect on fate, human/animal consciousness and desire. During the six years I lived in an isolated town in Montana, USA, I formed the collaborative group "Goatsilk," which explored how technology could set the stage for a unique contemporary art far removed from the established art centers of the world. Projects undertaken by "Goatsilk" include a gallery/art space and public performance art, video and Internet art. Our current work deals with religion, magic, cheap ugliness, terrorism and technology. Presently, I teach Contemporary Art Theory and Twentieth-Century Art at Colorado State University-Pueblo. I also direct the University's Art Gallery, where I curate collaborative, interactive exhibits that seek to engage a diverse audience in a conversation with and about contemporary art.

Ref: A07P0022