Copyright © Erica Karmeisool, 2014
This piece was inspired by the influences that lead to decisions about what to consume, and why those decisions are made. By processing Ruby Red grapefruit in the way that an animal would be butchered, the viewer is taken from their comfort zone and placed at the collision between familiarity and the unexpected. The experience of that collision is the spark that triggers thought, and perhaps questions, about food, consumption and the definition of plant vs. animal life.
This time-based installation begins with an environment that is similar to a butcher shop, including a stainless steel table, metal shelving, hanging hooks and stretching racks. Tied to some of these racks are small skins that resemble a four-legged creature, or possibly a butterfly, but with closer inspection, it becomes apparent that the skins are grapefruit peels.
1) The artist is on site wearing rubber gloves, an apron and mask "butchering" Ruby Red grapefruit, revealing the vivid red interior flesh and juice. She cuts the fruit in half, removes the flesh and slices the skin.
2) The skins are then pierced with hooks and tied to the stretching racks using kitchen twine.
3) The flesh is collected in a bowl and then processed in a meat grinder and packed into vegan casing to create sausage-like strands that are hung throughout the installation.
4) As the installation progresses, more skins, racks and strands are added as the grapefruit are butchered, expanding the overall footprint of the installation.
Viewers are able to walk amongst the racks and strands and touch the items. This close interaction allows the viewer to study the texture of the skins and see how they change from plum and fleshy to thin and leathery as they dry. The grapefruit processing is contained in one specific area to allow the viewer to acclimate and discover each component as they progress through the installation. Visitors can see, hear and smell the processing of the fruit and visceral demonstration of butchering typically applied to animals and meat.
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