July 27th: Slaughter Box/La Boîte Abattoir

Eat Art Marathon


Food diets contrasts create debates, especially between vegan/vegetarians and omnivorous groups. Slaughter houses and the mistreatment many animals received there before death are a first step of controversy. Many groups like Animal JusticeL214, PETA, and Animal Aid create documentation, petition and support marches to encourage the closing of these slaughter enterprises. 

Activist art often have a certain type of aesthetics that presents a clear opinionated statement, attract attention quickly, and if made for marches, have mobile features that are often quite ingenious. We saw several of them during the 2012 Quebec students protest against tuition fees increase. Made more often by the passionate than by professionnally-trained artists, the material and the final touches can often be rough-looking. I wanted to portray that aspect too.

The In-yer-face aspect of it was to bring my art piece next to the summer terrasses of steakhouses and grill meat restaurants to start its animation and soundtrack out loud until I was chased away by the staff or when police would be announced.


This performance did not go as I wanted nor planned it. Parts of it was a general tiredness that sapped my motivation and efficiency.

Here was the vision: A rolling little cinema in a cube of screens depicting cows in slaughterhouses and loud sounds of their last agony. The video-sculptural performance would finish with blood splash thrown from the inside of the cube. 

Here is how it happened: Too late to rent an electricity generator that would be necessary to power a small video projector bluetooth linked to a portable tablet or a USB key, I decided to make it with real food as a stable installation. Too late to actually create a cow representation, I bought real steaks and chicken legs that I hung up to the shelves. Using the framing idea, I found two powerful battery powered torches to light a sort of puppet theater framing. The cube structure idea was still not concluded, so I used my bedroom rolling metallic shelf to support all materials in an efficient way. Most of it was warpped in white tarp.

Since the shelf was too big to fit in any vehicule, I decided to mount everything on site, in front of Reuben's grill house on St-Catherine W street in Montreal. I had final exams that night until 9pm, home preparation took too long and my ride arrived only 30 minutes after I called it: when I got downtown, most restaurants were closed and I met mostly drunk people. Dressed in a fake-leather SM bodysuit and highheels to get out of trouble with a distracting look, I was soon surrounded by a group of young men eager to see more of this red paint splashing. I splashed a white car parked next to it by accident and a former cop walking by spent an hour making me believe he would denounce me to the police. Others helped me to finish painting the cart and its cardboard title.

I walked with the illuminated cart from Peel to Berri Street. People would all stop me to wonder what was this cart, what it represented, if they could buy the meat, was I a vegetarian, but they never asked where I came from or where I was going. They were in the present moment, a place where most artwork should bring you when it strikes you. Because of the bad condition of the sidewalks, and the heavyweight of the cart itself, the wheels eventually broke at St-Denis street, which forced me to end the performance. Pulling the broken cart was a physical performance by itself and many people offered their help, which added to the interaction I had with this artpiece. Here is an look at my hand at the end of the performance.

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