Gargantua the Great.

For this performance I stayed inside a "cage" made out of mesh and tubes, over two tables full of food for  three hours. The audience brought to the opening a variety of plates, desserts, and finger food that included dishes made out of meat and they were  encourage to  feed me for the duration of the piece with all the food available. Being a vegetarian for over 5 years, the performance pushed the physical, and ethical limits regarding my body and dietary needs. A critique for the unsustainable patterns of consumption of our present society, the performance created a space of reflection for the audience as a metaphor of self-indulgence in a capitalist system.
 
I had to eat everything that anyone gave me and by recognizing this pattern some viewers started feeding me more, while others tried to prevent people from doing so. As this sequence of ingestion became apparent through the performance the viewers began to evaluate  their daily patterns of consumption . The title of the piece referenced the name of a gorilla that The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus  billed as “Gargantua The Great, the world’s most terrifying creature” and the Giant Gargantua, a   fictional character written by François Rabelais in the 16th century novel The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel. Gargantua The Great, was exploited by the circus from 1937 to 1949 and  saved the circus from bankruptcy after the ruinous period of the great depression, dying at a very young age. A  victim of the abuses of a system that perceives nature as a commodity, the gorilla stands as a symbol of our failure to understand our relationship to nature. Gargantua is depicted in the novel as an insatiable being that forces entire towns to feed him, destroying them if they denied. 


Signs were placed around the table with the messages from the original posters of the circus and banners  that said: "feed the beast". The performance continued until the three hours elapsed and after it I was ill for about a week, vomiting after the performance for about  thirty minutes.


Performance at 221A
Pact; Beast 
May 8th, 2010 
Vancouver, Canada