For performer, chocolate easter bunnies, rabbit skin; documented as GIFs on Facebook
*Portfolio work as part of PhD thesis on Bodies and Boundaries in Performing Taxidermy; Critical reflection excerpts below.
"If taxidermy is a means of making an animated animal frozen in time, the animated gif may come closest to capturing and ‘freezing’ an action in time. A series of animated gifs presents a disjointed narrative of short actions happening repeatedly. There still may be more to consider for future performances of the actions that were lost in the limited documentation shared online: the smell of chocolate and tanning fluid together, the fear of an off-leash dog running by and snatching up the chocolate rabbit (as much fear of the dog eating chocolate as me losing a rabbit!), my undeniable sentimental attachment to the animal-objects I then destroyed. I could not actually eat all the chocolate, or even most of it, due to my sensitive stomach and distaste for milk chocolate. Perhaps here there are some similarities between taxidermy and the online documentation of the work as both being limited records of something past...."
"...For Donna Haraway, ‘becoming-with’ other beings is as much about dying as it is living, and that this is especially the case in the politics of eating: ‘In eating we are most inside the differential relationalities that make us who and what we are . . . There is no way to eat and not to kill, no way to eat and not to become with other mortal beings to whom we are accountable, no way to pretend innocence and transcendence or a final peace’ (When Species Meet, 2008, pp. 295). The adorable chocolate bunny is a manifestation of this pretended innocence, and re-thinking the bunny may involve disrupting this innocence. Perhaps further, in looking at these performance actions and materials through the lens of vital materialism, the chocolate is as important to the action of the work as human and rabbit. How does chocolate, as an ‘actant,’ different from meat in its influence and effects, particularly as matter that becomes a part of my own through the process of eating? In Vibrant Matter, eating is ‘a series of mutual transformations in which the border between inside and outside becomes blurry,’ (2010, pp. 49). Wet animal cape, treated with salts and acids, seeps into chocolate and through eating affects me alongside how I have affected it. Bennett suggests that chocolate, a processed food, is ‘rendered more passive, less vital’ than the raw sugar cane or cocoa seeds used to create it, in the same way that where the animal form is found in daily life is also, indeed, more passive; a chocolate bunny is viscerally and intellectually more palatable than a rabbit suffering (or having suffered) by our own doing. In Immaculate Confection, I merge chocolate and animal fur as a means of making the chocolate bunny less passive; it becomes less appetising, less understandable as food, and, to invoke Mary Douglas, more dangerous, at a questionable limit of what we think of as safe and edible..."