I was so hungry
Altered Esthetics, Minneapolis MN, 2011. Presented as part of “Food Fight” group exhibition.
I was so hungry. I ate more than my share.
I ate for pleasure, I ate to numb pain. I ate to connect with friends and to understand strangers.
I ate to celebrate. I ate to mourn. I ate out of boredom. I ate because it was there.
It’s always there, just waiting to be eaten.
We were so hungry. We ate more than our share.
And now our stomachs are large, our livers chug like tugboats, our hearts churn and burn
as we ceaselessly rake our bodies over the coals of our appetites.
The land, too, eats more than its share, burning through chemicals and fuels,
chewing up the soil and spitting in the rivers, churning out the food that surrounds us,
food that we eat because we are so hungry, in so many ways, we are so hungry.
I was so hungry is a participatory performance installation that uses the snacks often present at art openings to elicit dialogue with the audience about the conflicted relationship between American cultural foodways and food production, and personal food choices. In I was so hungry, gallery-goers are presented with a table full of pixel-bites of the typical art opening snacks: cheese, fruit, bread, etc., arranged as a mosaic image of my body. As the audience eats away the mosaic in food, the image of an industrial farmscape emerges from below the food; a slow fade over the course of the opening party from a human figure created in and by food to a photograph of the landscape that created this food, a landscape that bears its own distinctive appearance shaped by large-scale American agricultural techniques. The fade from one image to the next, and the hands that enter the frame and remove the food, are captured in video. The resulting footage is sped up and edited into a 3-5 minute video that played on loop for the remainder of the exhibition.