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Femme Fatale

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Jaimi Haycock, Chicken, 2012, HD video transferred to DVD Jaimi Haycock, Chicken, 2012, HD video transferred to DVD Jaimi Haycock, Chicken, 2012, HD video transferred to DVD Jaimi Haycock, Chicken, 2012, HD video transferred to DVD

In some cultures, like say France, it is considered slightly bad manners to eat out on the street while walking or standing around. It is indecorous, an activity that should be private. So this video (showing 24 hours a day) outside the library plays upon that sense of impropriety.

Auckland

 

Jaimi Haycock

Chicken

Curated by Siobhan Garrett

 

24 January - 6 February 2012

This amusing but vaguely disturbing looped video shows an attractively made up young woman (she wears bright red lipstick) tucking into a large chicken leg - using only her fingers and her teeth. It starts off with poise, dignity and restraint, but gradually becomes more abandoned as she starts to enjoy tearing flesh off the bone and chewing it up. However rather than celebrating being a carnivore, it seems more pointed, perhaps a paean to vegetarianism, with torn and gnawed bird sinews, peeling skin and slabs of fat gradually looking more and more disgusting.

We watch in mesmerised fascination, noting fragments of chicken moving around her teeth and tongue, yellow grease sticking to her incisors, flakes of crisp basted skin curling over her lips, lipstick adhering to the bulbous leg muscle and being smearily transferred to her chin and cheeks. The camera is mostly in front, with the occasional side angle from the right when the woman starts to rip into the shredded pale flesh.

Besides the delights of gustation there is a carnal level going on here as well, about sexual pleasure. The pursed and pouty lips, the small mole above the upper lip, the rhythmic and methodical mastication, the losing of control, its relished frenzy - all indicate this is not just about devouring food. Some men watching it might experience alarm in front of such a chomping vagina dentata, a predatory ‘man-eater’ like perhaps a female spider or praying mantis. Others might find it a turn on - exhilaratingly dangerous - or simply earthy and randy. Plain lustful.

Normally we never stare at somebody eating - especially if we consider ourselves polite - and in some countries, like say France, it is considered slightly bad manners to eat out on the street while walking or standing around. It is indecorous, an activity that should be private. So this video (showing 24 hours a day) outside the central Auckland Public Library plays upon that sense of impropriety. We really peer into her mouth. And sometimes food falls out of it. She enjoys being messy.

These are all interesting issues and Haycock has made a film containing much to be talked about. If you don’t mind feeling a little furtive openly scrutinising it in Lorne St, it’s on for another fortnight.

John Hurrell

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