DIY DVK 2006
The DIY De-victimizer Kit Mark One (DIY DVK m1) was set up to allay some of the guilt people feel when they consume parts of dead animals (as food, for aesthetic reasons or any other purpose) or cause the accidental death of a living being (by a car, a lawnmower, or any other piece of technology). The kit can maintain and in some cases even proliferate and extend the life of parts of the deceased bodies, at least until the guilt recedes. The DIY DVK utilises off-the-shelf items to construct a basic tissue culture facility; a few specialised nutrients are needed – some of which contain animal-derived material – but the latter is so far removed from the end user that for most people remorsefulness is usually not an issue.
We made use of the DIY DVK for a performative installation in which we experimented with bringing back to life (literally) parts of meats. We attempted to reverse the ‘destructive’ effects of human technology by ‘re-life-ing’ its victims and invited the audience to take an active role in the experiment by assisting us in caring for the fragments of life and making different ethical decisions with regard to these fragments’ eventual fate.
Since this project had its debut in Barcelona, we felt compelled to reassess human relations to animals in the context of the Spanish bullfighting ritual. Drawn also by our anecdotal observation that an increase in number of McDonald’s restaurants was paralleled by an increase of criticism against bull fighting. In drawing an analogy between participating in a bullfight ritual and eating a McBurger, one may argue that in the bullfighting ritual, the killing of the animal for aesthetic and recreational reasons is more respectful, as it is exposed and even celebrated. However, the fate of the non-human animal is predestined. As a homage to the fighter bull, we re-lifed its tissue and grew it over a miniature replica of a tourist-shop figurine in the shape of a bull. We contrasted the tissue from the bull with that from a burger and tried to obtain viable cells for re-life-ing. We also asked the audience to choose which one they would like to ‘kill’, that is, take back to its cultural accepted position of dead meat.