Artist J.J. McCracken, who teaches at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. is responsible for this little slice of Hell we see above. Hunger, Philadelphia spanned from 2008-2011, hosted within Philadelphia’s Painted Bride Arts Center.
It’s a multi-layered performance installation in which nine clay-covered models move listlessly throughout an environment which contains piles of clay food. They gnaw, dead-eyed, on clay fruit, vegetables and bread but never appear to be satisfied. The scene is scored by slowly-grinding ambient music which was to be felt as much as heard.
McCracken calls the installation “a poem about need:”
“Hunger, Philadelphia used geophagy (earth-eating) as a launching point for an experiential poem about need. Geophagia occurs worldwide. A normal cultural/traditional behavior or medicinal practice, geophagia may be problematic in populations suffering severe food crisis. Clay is valued for its toxin-binding capabilities (adsorption). Researchers question whether it may also bind nutrients, passing them through the body unutilized and thereby exacerbating malnutrition.”
Above image: Screenshot of the video, courtesy of the artist.
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