Meat Speech




How does meat speak? The human body is a visceral site that is enmeshed in a continuum incorporating animal communications. My intent is to ‘give voice’ to the original material substance, pig blood, at its source. The proximity of pig to human can be disconcerting for many based on existing cultural biases. I use the pig voices as a vehicle through which to express anxieties about the current state of human affairs. Ultimately, parallels are drawn between the condition of pig and that of human through the juxtaposition of the materials of blood with rust, and of the sounds of the life cycle of farmed pigs with that of revolutionary song. The audio component of Meat Speech could be heard while sitting in the installation’s café setting; it consists of a soundtrack called “The Revolution Will Not Be Digested,” which addresses conditions of living in the present vis-à-vis a revolutionary past. In 1970, Gil Scott-Heron performed his rallying spoken-word song, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Subsequent generations excavate from that period and earlier for inspiration that seemed to me in 2003 difficult to find. I had a pessimistic shudder response to recent political events based on the old adages: the more things change, the more they remain the same; and history is doomed to repeat itself. I asked myself if revolutionary conviction was floundering. “The Revolution Will Not Be Digested” text substitutes for the original “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” lyrics and is based on found samples of the ubiquitous and amnesiac appropriation of the word ‘revolution’ to sell products and concepts that have nothing to do with revolution. They are symptomatic of what I perceived to be a general malaise and apathy in regards to socio-political awareness and activism at that time. The significance of digesting well refers not only to healthy biological functions but also to exceeding mere consumption in order to understand and to remember. The pig ‘voices’ I anthropomorphize for Meat Speech are wishful manipulations in an ironic, absurd attempt to cry “REVOLUTION!”





media: pig blood, rust, steel panel, paint, cd player, power amp speakers, tables & chairs, drywall
dimensions: installation 560 sq. ft
lyrics: Millie Chen
vocals: Allonymous


Curated by Mélanie Boucher, Marcel Blouin, Patrice Loubier for “ORANGE,” Expression, Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec. Commissioned by Expression Centre d’exposition de Saint-Hyacinthe.