Most people prefer to feel 'divorced' from the full knowledge of how meat products get to the supermarket, how pharmaceutical drugs are tested, how organ transplants are possible or how a surgeon really goes about operating on a live body, including cosmetic alterations (i.e. by breaking bones, chiselling and hammering, cutting and stitching bits of body parts). The alteration of our body aesthetic and functionality is becoming an ever increasingly accepted commodity. Many private US clinics advertise in US college newspapers, offering egg ‘donors’ amounts from averaging $4500. ‘Desirability’ of genetic traits primarily determines the price: blonde, tall, athletic and musical donors command the higher rates. Tissue banks sell most of our body parts as a product, from egg to tendon: a multi-million dollar business, able to break down a body into 200 products, is currently thriving within (and more often outside) legal boundaries.
We'd rather turn a blind eye to most uncomfortable thoughts. The body trade seems an absurdity to the ears of the morally aware, and the most hypocritical point is: how to establish what is acceptable and what isn't. Where do we draw the line?
By burying all feelings of guilt, prejudice and hesitation under a hyper-real blanket, with "Body Cash" I picture a fictional dystopia where the body trade equals any other commerce. By carrying a market value as unquestioned as that of any other lifestyle commodity, here body parts become as beautifully displayed as luxury items inside display cabinets.
Body Cash is an installation piece comprising of six transparent perspex display cabinets containing surgical trays perched atop medical trolleys. Inside each tray there are sculptural models made of translucent resin, representing various body parts for sale. A price list menu is also on display.
Entire set of 6 trolleys as displayed at Catlin Art Prize 2010.
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