I was inspired by the work of John Yuyi, Skin on Skin.
The artist made a nude picture of herself and made into a tatoo sticker and printed it on a piece of pig flesh. This work is very visually strong, disturbing and offer a lot to discuss. I also got interested in the materials as well such as using animal part for art project.
I was interested in pig flesh as well, especially the pig’s ear, but I couldn’t find it anywhere though I live in Manhattan Chinatown. Living next to two small fish shops then something caught on my attention–lobster.
I want to make a funeral for a lobster. The idea just came to my mind and I love it.
As the animal who is considered “precious” ,”high-class” and “expensive” in some culture, in Chinatown the price is OK , for 12 dollars, I got this amazingly looking alien creature, who was mainly a predator, feed on crab, shellfish etc. And this is my first time buy a fresh uncooked lobster.
I got terrified when the nice lady was helping me picking up the most fresh lobster, and she picked up the one that was crawling strongly when being held up. I cried out “NOOO”. She was so surprised that , not that often, a customer picked a dead lobster in a fish market when they actually have the same price.
Interesting thing is, I know I will do something related to the dead lobster, the weight of it still strike me, unlike other seafood I have bought, shrimps , fishes … lobster is more “concrete” and feel more as a “whole”, since it has weight that strong enough to make you feel it’s existence, and a feature of looking that can not easily erase from head. It was indeed a sad moment, I started to question myself :
I also printed out a picture of a cooked lobster, which is supposed to be delicious looking. When I was printing the picture, the real lobster lying quietly in the brown bag next to the screen, in the library.
Then I printed out the Chinese style funeral couplet.
Then I went to a funeral service store in Chinatown, picked up some paper money, which is a custom to burn for the past one, may they have enough money to spend in where they are now.
Here is the whole setting. I was listening to Kpop band Big Bang’s music for the whole time. It was a special memory.
Thank you! Dong Chang! Helping me setting up.
I put the lobster in.
Then some people came for the tiny funeral. Putting money in the lobster’s claw, as the tradition in their culture.
People use the paper I provide to write something for the lobster and making origami. To remember him, or her.
I think what I am try to create here is a purely meaningless, and to me, that is the purpose in a way. This is not really about animal protection, and the sadness of the past life for the lobster only last short time , and was washed away when me and my friends were doing the scene and talking together.
However, to me that, this is a rather absurd work that I never thought I could make. It’s really colorful, which some people mistaken it was a celebration. For someone with Chinese background,the paper money should be burned instead of being put on the wall. But then again, why would a lobster money. The raw & dead & sad lobster in the front, while the cooked & nice looking & happy picture in the back, they are obviously not the same one, why would they put up together? And all of those people who attended the funeral , they are not really offering sadness, but had great time talking about the different way of lobster cooking. Lobsters are naturally predator when reached adult period, however, we, the human are real, true predator. The lobster now is lying in my fridge, I’m thinking about steam it, then add sauce of garlic and butter.
However, I ended up really really really sad now, since I lost the memory card where stores all the pictures that were took by the nice 5DIII camera that I borrowed from the shop.