Per Johansen’s Grotesque Photographs Of Meat Stuffed Into Bottles

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For the photographer Per Johansen’s new series, the artist shoots plastic bottles filled and overflowing with raw and bloody meat, exploring human consumption and calling into question the ethics of the meat industry. The project, titled Mæt (meaning Full) uses recycled plastic bottles to stand in for the human stomach and appetite; each is then stuffed with chicken, eel, sausage, liver, fish. When viewing this disturbing and probative project, viewers are forced too to consider the morality of using a once-living being in art; if the work makes a statement against cruel techniques in meat production, is it then exempt from the same ethical criticism?

Shot under expert lighting to reveal the textures of the dead flesh, each image reads like a scientific specimen, an objective and disturbing archive of meat production. The stomach-turning images are hard to look at; like organisms preserved in jars and formaldehyde, the meat products look less like food and more like grotesque captives. Their biological beauty is expressed through the ridges of a snail shell; a compressed cephalopod fleshes emerald hues, and the shiny metallic glint of scales presses against the cruel plastic. A pair of eel eyes appear deadened, and an eel mouth seems to open in a silent scream, a head thrust from the bottle neck.

Here, the human appetite for meat is shown as wasteful, the stomach equated with the plastic bottle, an object associated with careless consumption. The work’s website asks viewers, “Are you full now?” This idea brings us back to our initial question: is it humane to use meat for creative purposes, or is it degrading and wrong to use once-living organisms in such a way? Does the answer change when the work is meant to protest human gluttony and the grotesque nature of mass meat production? Let us know what you think in the comments! (via Feature Shoot)

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Human Guts Filmed With Pill-Cam Digesting Food, Look Like Something From Space

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“Journey to the Center of the Gut” is the artistic duo Sam Bompas and Harry Parr’s answer to “food pornography” images posted on Instagram; in asking celebrity chef Gizzi Erskine to swallow a SynMed pill-cam, they provide a more raw and intimate view of human consumption. The minuscule camera filmed Erskine’s insides as it passed through her digestive tract, and a live audience of hundreds was invited to witness the process. At times, the expert chef ate jelly beans, which, to the delight of all, bounced about before the camera.

The project, presumably titled after Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth,” places our modern aesthetic fascination with food within a more profound and cosmic context. By comparison, Instagram food images seem frivolous and relatively insubstantial; Bompas and Parr’s images are scientific and therefore authoritative, presenting the gut—normally considered to be a vulgar organ—with reverent medicinal care. At times, organs appear like fiery celestial bodies, commanding our attention.

These images, in contrast to prettily polished and filtered “food porn” shots, are dangerously vulnerable; their subject is soft, naked, sensitive tissue, and the SynMed pill-cam is capable of revealing potential problems in Erskine’s system (Bompas is pleased to report that her digestive organs are perfectly healthy). Juxtaposed against the glamour of the famous chef, whose careful updos and fashionable manner mirror those of old Hollywood starlets, the crude images are stronger for their entirely unpredictable, visceral portrayal of her inner self.

In a world where we’re tasked with consuming an impossible amount of imagery, ”Journey to the Center of the Gut” reminds us of the physicality of consumption. Amidst a plethora or celebrity chefs, cooking shows, diet books, and food porn, the project reminds us of the basic fact of our digestion; it doesn’t have to be pretty, but it’s something we all share. (via HuffPost)

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Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida’s Delicious Miniature Worlds

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida

Photographers Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida (previously here) found love through photography while attending art school, but they also found a way to combine their interests in gourmet food and miniature worlds by combining them all into playful scenarios. Their most comprehesive series, MINIMIAM, has been an exploration of visual solutions in miniature since 2002. Says Ida, “We’re both food photographer in our daily work, and we’re both quite crazy about cooking, eating and everything about food. So when we started this small people series, naturally we created the stories related to the food.”

The series (a portmanteau from mini and miam, meaning yum! in French), sets miniature figures in whimsical settings, opening up the possibilities of food photography and creating stories from visual puns. The figures are found from model train set kits (usually 1/87 scale), and seen sledding through icing like snow, blowing air into raisins with a handpump to explain the origin of grapes, and recalling Michelangelo by carving away the shell of a peanut to set free the trapped sculpture (peanut) within.

For newer works and commissioned projects by the duo, visit their website, or their upcoming exhibition at the International Agriculture Show in Paris in February. (via colossal)

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Mark Menjivar Updates His Photographic Series Of Fridges Several Years Later

Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008, left, and right, midwife/business consultant, 2012

Left: Midwife/High School Science Teacher, 2008. Right: midwife/business consultant, 2012

A bartender's fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

A bartender’s fridge in 2008 (left) and 2012 (right).

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Left: The fridge of a carpenter and photographer in 2008. Right: The fridge, with the photographer now a homemaker, in 2012.

Photographer Mark Menjivar wants to know what’s in your fridge. His series You Are What You Eat began in 2007 (it was previously featured on Beautiful/Decay here), and it captured the insides of 60 different people’s fridges. Menjivar thought of the series as a portrait project, with food defining someone’s identity. Several years later, he revisited some of the fridges. The new photographs depict how lives change over the years, as illustrated by food. For some, their habits have changed drastically, while others, more or less, are the same.

 The ingredients in one’s fridge tell us a lot. Not only what kind of food they eat, but do they cook regularly, do they drink alcohol, do they like barbecue. And what about fresh produce? When the photographer met with a midwife and science teacher in 2008, they had started a commitment to eating only local produce. In 2012, with ready-made fruit packs in sight, we can see that commitment didn’t exactly last. The fridge that was chock-full of takeout containers in 2008 was owned by a bartender. Still a bartender in 2012, he has, according to Menjivar, started eating healthier and lost weight.

You Are What You Eat was originally shot for an exhibition at the Houston Center for Photography. Since the release of the series, the exhibition has travelled to 15 cities. In each city, Menjivar collaborates with communities to create a conversation about food issues in their area. The series will eventually become a book. (via Slate)

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Bizarre Art Project Creates Human Cheese Out Of Skin And Tears

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agapakischeese

Microbiologist Christina Agapakis and scent artist Sissel Tolaas‘ science-meets-art project “Self Made” seeks to challenge the way we think about microbes, scent, and the nature of disgust. Most cheese is made by taking milk and spoiling it with the bacteria, Lactobacillus. This bacteria transform milk sugars into acid, causing it to coagulate. The chunks are removed from the liquid and aged with specific yeast that creates specific cheeses. Lactobacillus and yeast can be found all around us, including our own skin. Agapakis and Tolaas take microbes from people’s skin – like Michael Pollan’s belly button or artist Olafur Eliasson’s tears – and add them to milk in order to create a human microbial cheese portrait (a cheese selfie?).

“The idea was to recognize, how do we get grossed out? Then to think about it and move beyond that initial idea of disgust,” Agapakis says. “Why are we more uncomfortable with bacteria on the body than we are with bacteria in cheese?”

From the artists’ statement, “Many of the stinkiest cheeses are hosts to species of bacteria closely related to the bacteria responsible for the characteristic smells of human armpits or feet. Can knowledge and tolerance of bacterial cultures in our food improve tolerance of the bacteria on our bodies? How do humans cultivate and value bacterial cultures on cheeses and fermented foods? How will synthetic biology change with a better understanding of how species of bacteria work together in nature as opposed to the pure cultures of the lab?”

“Self Made” is currently on view (and smell – the project is for thinking, not eating) at Gallery Science in Dublin until January 2014 as part of the “Grow Your Own” exhibition along with other synthetic biology projects including a mouse cloned from Elvis Presley’s DNA, a yogurt drink that yields disease-diagnosing feces, and a project that proposes a future in which humans could give birth to endangered species. (via huffington post, npr, and la times).

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Peter Menzel Photographs What A Weeks Worth Of Groceries Looks Like Around The World

Peter Menzel - Photographs

United States

Peter Menzel - Photographs

Germany

 

Chad

Chad

Equador

Equador

What does a week of groceries look like for you? Do you buy a lot of fruits, maybe some vegetables? Or, do you go for the frozen pizza and cookies? Peter Menzel photographed one week of groceries for families around the world. Traveling to places like Mexico, France, Chad, Mongolia, and more, he highlights the differences between the type and amount of food that is bought each week.  Some of the disparity is staggering, especially when comparing volume of food and nutritional value on a week to week basis.

Being from the US, I was not surprised at the amount of processed food I saw. In this photograph, there are very few fruits and vegetables. Compared with places like Turkey and India, whose diets are comprised of mostly fresh foods, it was kind of disgusting. Just think about how many preservatives and chemicals there are! Something that’s pretty consistent from country to country is the purchase of liquids each week. Sodas (especially Coca-Cola), juices, bottled water are all things that showed up in nearly every picture. The family in Germany includes several bottles of wine and beer, which doesn’t amount to that much over the week, but together seems significant.

Of course, this is just a snapshot of one family and not necessarily indicative of how an entire country eats. We don’t know the finer details of the subjects, like the city they live in or their socioeconomic status. But, it does point to some trends and cultural habits that exist. It also gives us a snapshot to how other people unlike us live, which is always a good thing to be aware of.

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Camilla Wordie Creates Edible Textiles

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Food art is back from the dead! And you thought that those crazy Fluxus artists from the 60’s were long gone…

Scandinavian artist Camilla Wordie creates textiles out of textures found in our daily eats. Her project is a synthesis of her love for both the culinary world and the arts. Edible textiles extends from Wordie’s other food-related productions (Am I chocolate or not? and Wearing Rice is Nice) which include tableware inspired by grains of rice and tables made of chocolate powder.

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Contemporary Paintings Of Women, Occasionally Nude, Sometimes With Food

Megan Van Groll - PaintingMegan Van Groll - Painting

Megan Van Groll - Painting

Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.

Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”

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