Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Critical Corpus

This Critical Corpus is a life-size tape cast of a 5' ft. 11' in. male. We stuffed our man, "Corpo" with 70lbs of warm, once, twice, thrice-loved clothes, toys, baby bottles, shoes, blankets. Then we carried our stiff commodity corps and left him to sun bath in the middle of the Westlake Center Plaza.
A little girl plopped right in his lap. Some people took Corpo's picture with their camera phones. Others ripped off his head and gutted him for loot.
Why did we build a life sized corpse, name it Corpo, and pack him full of stuff? Firstly, we're always looking for creative ways to address the needs of our community--and we're tryn to do it as participatory public art made with reclaimed materials, making sure blankets and clothes end up on backs instead of in fresh kills land fills.
We thought about how we should present Corpo to the world: "hmmmm, lets drop a card-board sign with him that says 'The Need is Clear' or 'Asking for Change'". But after some thought we were like "nawww, veto the signs" because its not just about keeping warm clothes on peoples backs, even though that shits real. Conceptually, we didnt want him to only represent stuff. Meaning we didnt want the message to be that it sucks to be poor because you can't buy stuff, or that giving stuff to people who don't have any is some how going to solve poverty. We wanted Corpo to assist in a public understanding of the causes of systemic poverty in our city... in the world! Mainly from a spatial standpoint.
So we figured this: without a sign, Corpo would be a body full of all the shit we need to keep warm, feed and entertain our kids, stuff we like to buy, buy, buy--If we ditched Corpo smack in the middle of DT shopping district, his body would look like a landscape and he'd be more than just an odd lookin' sculpture full of shit. He'd represent the feedback loop between "the body," and the ideology, culture & values of "the body," and of how all that gets built into the physical landscape--which then goes on to reinforce and perpetuate the same ideology, culture, and values into more & more & more bodies.
In other words, Corpo's clear product-filled corpse is not only a reflection of the commercial landscape that we left him in, but also of how capitalism fashions the body and our identities.
Corpo was left for public dismantlement and humiliation (poor corpo...). And maybe, juuust maybe, someone found the sweater, or jacket, or creepy neon-green-alien-stuffed-animal they were looking to buy, except recycled and for free(!) from the belly of our boy, Corpo.

No comments: