Many odd things happen in London on a daily basis. Indeed the diversity of artistic expression in the capital is one of the things that make it great.
So when a man decides to don a chicken suit and walk around Trafalgar Square that’s sort of par for the course right? Well maybe, unless of course the suit in question is actually made of real chicken skin.
Artists Victor Ivanov and Lewis Burton had decided to showcase ‘Flesh’ their multi-dimensional art project in the heart of the capital. The suit of real chicken skin had been literally sewn onto Burton’s body and he wore it as he wandered around, stopping in various places and immediately drawing crowds as he did.
The intention so far as I can ascertain was to create a social media buzz as the many tourists and passers by stopped to take pictures and no doubt tweet, facebook and instagram the oddity in front of them. To quote the artists facebook page “The documented results are then used to create viral material, stimulating the social sphere and allowing it to redefine itself by acting as a platform for dialogue as well as a source of contemporary consumer culture.”
In summary I think that means to get people talking about why a man would want to dress like a chicken on one of the hottest days of the year.
And why indeed? The artists wanted to start a conversation about commodification with the chicken being an object which inhabits almost every walk of life, often grown in cages as a commodity. They have become a part of the fabric of everyday life.
To watch the performance play out, amongst the unsuspecting passers by of the square there was also something a little unnerving. To look closely at the skin suit, the lumps and bumps could be made out, the skin was stitched together in a presumably intentionally crude way and as the performance went on and the day got hotter, the suit started to tear and drip. More than once I had to look away but then maybe that was the intention, that I would look away but then look back again and maybe be intrigued enough to find out more.
Flesh was a multi-dimensional performance art project by Lewis Burton and Victor Ivanov. It took place in Trafalgar Square in London at 5.30pm on Saturday 19 July 2014 and was also supported by Art Map London.