“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)