Monday, June 04, 2007
Art Space Talk: Mark McGowan (Second Interview)
This is my second interview with Performance artist Mark McGowan. Mark has eaten a cooked corgi in a protest over the Royal Family's treatment of animals. The dog died at a Corgi breeding farm in Southern England and was prepared and cooked for McGowan's consumption on the Bob and Roberta Smith radio programme on 104.4 Resonance FM.
McGowan says,'I know some people will find this offensive and tasteless but i did this to raise awarness about the RSPCA's inability to prosecute Prince Phillip and his friends shooting a fox earlier this year, letting it struggle for life for 5 minutes and then beating it to death with a stick.'
The performance/protest sent shock waves throughout the press. The performance was titled 'Artist Eats a Corgi- 2007'. Mr. McGowan is known for challenging political figures and institutions with his work.
Brian Sherwin: Mark, you've been busy since last we talked. In your last performance you set up a table on a London street and devoured a corgi. The performance was also broadcasted on a live radio program (Resonance FM).Your goal was to draw attention to media reports that Prince Philip, the queen's husband, had beaten a fox to death during a hunt. Can you go into further detail about the meaning behind the protest?
Mark McGowan: The royals are terrible people they kill animals for sport for fun they shot them just to see them die, they then show them no respect, except that is if they are a corgi... a little brown big eyed cuddle pooch.
BS: I understand that the the radio show's presenter, Bob Smith, was not convinced that the meat came from a dog. I must say from the images I've seen that it did not look like any meat I've seen before. Have others questioned this?
MM: I think bob knows it was corgi now as it has been independently tested by various people.
BS: Were you concerned about public opinion going into this performance? In other words, did you have trouble with animal rights groups over this event or did they understand the protest?
MM: It has been a mixed bag from animal rights if you look on say peta's website you can see some people support it while others condemn it.
BS: I know this is a horrible question, but... how did it taste?
MM: Disgusting white grey meat smelly... it got on my hands and teeth I can still smell it now! I will never forget that smell and that taste.
BS: I understand that Yoko Ono had a bite as well. Was she a guest on the radio program as well or was this a collaboration? Have you collaborated with her before?
MM: Yoko was just a guest on the show. (EDIT: As it turns out... this 'Yoko Ono' was an imposter. The radio station, major news sources, and bloggers like myself were all duped. Thus, it is safe to say that Ono has never taken a bite out of a cooked dog. This is an example of why we should never fully believe what we read or see in the press.)
BS: Mark, you are a vegetarian and I believe Yoko Ono is as well. Did this protest cause conflict in your personal philosophy or do you view it as acceptable given the reason behind it? Do you feel the performance sent a stronger message because you are a vegetarian?
MM: Yes, I think the messages weight was carried by the fact that i was a vegetarian and also that I was prepared to go to any lengths.
BS: The top British animal-protection charity said there was no evidence to support the claim that Prince Philip abused the fox. Do you think there was a cover-up? Do you think that it is another example of political figures being above the law? What is the word from the streets?
MM: Well the pictures in the newspapers at the time of the incident clearly show a man with a big lump of wood hitting the fox so how the rspca can say that there were no signs of trauma other than gunshot in the autopsy is ridiculous. I don't know who did the autopsy but it certainly wasn't that guy from CSI, Grishom.
BS: This is not your first performance protest against the monarchy. Earlier this year you ate a swan in a protest against the monarchy, the rich and the upper classes- it was performed outside the Guy Hilton Gallery in East London. Is the royal family a deserving target? Are others just as fed up with them as you are?
MM: Monarchy in the 21st century, what about Democracy?
BS: Mark, what are you working on at this time? Can you reveal anything?
MM: It is another re-enactment top secret, but trust me Brian you will be among the first to know.
I hope you have enjoyed my second interview with Mark McGowan. Be sure to visit his site: www.markmcgowan.org
Take care, stay true,