Monday, June 25, 2007

Vegetarian artist kills a pig for his art show

Vegetarian artist Simon Birch dressed as a samurai and killed a pig with his sword for his multimedia art show "A journey from life to death". I was really outrage when I saw this, even meat eaters can find the killing video disturbing, I can't imagine how a vegetarian artist can actually bring himself to kill the animal.

It's really sad that Birch says it's "conceptually necessary" and "important to have something die in front of him". Necessary... Aren't artists supposed to be creative? There are hundreds of ways death can be depicted instead of killing a poor, innocent, unarmed animal. If he really wants to do it, he might as well film the life of factory farmed pigs. There the bloodlust of something dying in front of him can be satisfied. To me, this isn't an artistic installation, it's an installation of cruelty. Nasty though we may be sometimes, we don't go around killing humans or animals (even if we may eat the latter).

It's really a shame to see that the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts actually considered this as a form of "art". Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. Indeed this reflects the progress of our modern society very well.

15 comments:

Edanator said...

Great, Rujoon! I've been wanting to read the full article since I heard about this story. Now it's letter-writing time. Let's hope the pen is mightier than the sword...

peaceloving said...

Ah.......... i still cannot understand how a vegetarian is doing this. Non-vegetarians may not have the guts to kill too.....

Hope VSS is writing to NAFA too...

Dreamy, i share the same sentiment. ya, our society still has a lot to do to be more uplifting..... It will be oneday, let's be positive :)....

BTW, you like avocado with soy milk too? :) :) try it with some chocolate too, those without the cow milk type. :) :)

You watched the online tv too? it is very inspiring and uplifting to me, as i told Jackie.

Enjoy you week and many more!


/peaceloving

urban vegan said...

How can he consider himself a vegetarian? I think this is shameless PR. Poor pig--to have to die for art's sake.

zlyrica said...

This is so double standard. NAC ban real human blood to be use for artpieces and installations even if its the artist's own blood but approve animals' blood to be shed??? What is so wrong with these people???

Anonymous said...

Arts are for Humanity; Not Inhumanity

With regards to the ST article "A journey from life to death" dated June 14th 2007, Simon Birch's killing of a pig in the name of art calls a number of reflections to mind. The arts should be used for promoting humanity, not for portraying inhumanity, especially not to the weak and defenseless. The documentation of transpired violence (eg. film and photo footages of wars) as lessons of history is entirely different from actively being violent to "teach" any lesson - for it only furthers violence in its very act, instead of halting it. It is ironical how Birch, being a vegetarian who does not eat animals, has no qualms about killing one. A matter of bad faith to animals overtaking his "artistic" pursuits?

If anything goes in the art circle for relaying aspects of "reality", one might as well film a man-eating shark devouring a man alive, since reality is such that humans do get killed by sharks now and then. Obviously, any form of violence, of any being to any other should not be condoned. This is surely so, if only we learn to empathise with the plight of captive animals. What differentiates us from animals living by the law of the jungle is our capacity to care for these animals.

While the dark side of the reality of life does includes incidents of abuse, exploitation and savagery, there is already enough of such. In fact, there is already too much - there is no need for more. What horror would it be, if Birch's work is well received, thus "demanding" or inspiring more future killings by means more unspeakable.

A challenge for the artist is to film real-life mass-killings occurring within slaughterhouses on a daily basis. This is much more realistic than contrived staging of killing with a sword. He could also screen segments of the film "Fast Food Nation", where animal killings are vividly documented. Screened in Singapore recently, its DVD is now available.

As Mahatma Gandhi rightly said on measuring our humanity by seeing how we treat the non-human, "The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." May no nation ever endorse distasteful "arts" of violence, not that they should be considered artistic at all. For the sake of humanity's humanity and animal welfare, may all artists, curators and appreciators of the arts denounce support of such works.

Crystal @ Blog*Spot said...

The Artist is a vegetarian, but what is going on in his mind, we might not know.

And NAFA, i am disappointed that this get the green light.

Veggie Bun said...

You mean they allow this in SG???

Judith MacCaellich-Young said...

I have worked as an engineer and also as a textile artist ( strange mix!) It appalls me that an artist needs death to inspire him... sickening in fact.
I feel naughty because I chose life for bees. Because that life meant dependency on people...
I think this man must be the vegetarian that every meat eater knows that eats fish or bacon sandwiches! Eeeeeek!

dreamy said...

Eda: Yes, thank the lady who put up the article on her blog, I got it from there :)

Peaceloving: Not to NAFA but to ST, but may not be under the name of VSS. Wow! That's a new combi...avocado + soymilk + chocolate. Thanks I will give it a try :) Online TV?

Urbanvegan: Exactly! I can't imagine he is actually vegetarian. Well, maybe for health sake and not for the animals.

Zlyrica: I didn't know human blood was banned. But I agree... human or animal blood the same.

Anonymous: Great one! You want to sent it to ST and see if it can be published in the forum?

Crystal and jn: yes, it's sad that NAFA gave the green light :S yes it's in Singapore. Somehow, we want to be the best in a lot of things, but in terms of animal treatment I think we are still far away from the ideal.

Judith: hahaha.. that's wat cross my mind too... was he really a "vegetarian"?

Edanator said...

Anonymous: Great piece! I wish I had your writing skills. I hope you try to send it somewhere.

KleoPatra said...

Woah, that is tough... very hard to understand. And makes me so very sad to know someone would do this to a beautiful life form in the name of "art" ... i don't get it.

Veggie Bun said...

I wonder whether NAFA would allow this if it was not a pig but a cat or dog...

dreamy said...

A cat or dog, I would think not... again human biasness at play..

Billy Criswell said...

Please understand, Birch is not an artist, he's an opportunist. I'd wager he's not a vegetarian either.

Maybe I'll do an installation as a samurai with Birch filling in for the pig, just to show man's inhumanity to man. Hopefully he'll agree to that, in the interest of fulfilling my own conceptual necessity.

Lea said...

Simon Burch is clearly unbalanced and this is beyond sick.

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