Bangkok, Thailand. 31 March, 2023.
My lovely girlfriend has a lovely farm in a lovely place far away. So do I, actually! Her farm is bigger and more of a real farm, while my farm is just the farm part of an art center I’m building (was building, until I ran out of money; will start building again). But I have a view of the ocean from my farm, so that’s something. You can get from one farm to the other in two days if you time it just right, but I’m way too old for that pace of travel.
So anyway we both have farms, and farms are for farming, and that leads to some interesting conversations about what to grow.
This is only tangentially related to the question of what you want to eat.
Pigs, for example? Yeah, I like to eat pigs. But under no circumstances do I wish to deal with the complexities of raising pigs. 🤠🐽💩 nope.
Fortunately for me, my favorite land animal for eating is a small dinosaur native to this region, here called Gai Baan ( ไก่บ้าน ) or “house chicken.”
Now this is a possibility – and some of the best chicken in the world is to be had around there already, so it shouldn’t be hard to get the farm workers to buy in on it. After all, they get free eggs and an occasional fryer, so why wouldn’t they?
Plus it turns out chicken 💩 is an ongoing requirement for the fruit trees.
Still Life With Lunch
As an artist, you’re always looking for the art angle. We’re single-minded, relentless fuckers that way, even when we’re trying to play nice with bourgeois society. Which brings me, in my typically roundabout manner, to the point of this little update.
What are the ethics of painting your lunch?
(That’s Tomás Hiepes painting his lunch in 1643. He was a big eater. Probably even fatter than me. Courtesy of El Prado, which just gets better and better.)
I think it, er, boils down to what you paint, and when.
Generally acceptable: plants. Nobody sheds a tear for the banana! I blame Andy Warhol. This is good news because I’m only growing plants on my farm, in fact the only thing we have in surplus right now is lemons. Girlfriend Farm is mostly going to be tropical fruit. So the ethics police are probably going to leave me alone on this, though the waistline police might not be so easy.
Morally Okey Dokey: cooked animals. Likewise, if it’s already cooked and I’m gonna eat it, or you are, or the cat is anyway, then I can paint it, right? Seems cut and dry. Cut and dried? Cured and cut? Uh-oh, salami is its own category and I’m running out of time here.
Probably Fine Too: uncooked animals that are already dead. This is getting into the tricky area. On the one hand, if you’re going to eat them anyway, what’s the difference? On the other hand, who’s to say you didn’t kill them in order to paint them, and then just eat them because you were too lazy to go down to the 7-11 for a “sandwich?” Well in our case we get a pass on this because neither farm is within walking distance of a 7-11, and considering one of the farms is in Thailand that speaks volumes on its remoteness. We must live off the land, sometimes!
Tricky: live animals you are going to eat later. Ah, now this is the real moral dilemma! Are we raising the animals to paint them, or to eat them? If we keep them in order to paint them, isn’t it cruel to then go and eat them? Is our art not stained in blood? I don’t know. At some point, maybe yes? It depends, I think, on the animal: if you are raising cows and you paint your cows and then you kill your cows and eat them, it seems like the cows are getting a raw deal. So to speak.
But in our case I’m not worried, because the lean little dinos I plan to eat would turn around and eat us in a second if they were large enough. And paint us too if they had hands.
Unfairly Exempted: fish. What is it with you mammal-and-bird people?! Did you take Nirvana literally about the fish? Anyway you can pretty much go out to the pond, find the intellectual leader of the local fish community, take him out of the water, club him to death, paint your effing masterpiece, and throw his carcass right back in. Nobody cares.
Unknown territory: bugs. The squeamish West has no guidance on this: we’re afraid of bugs, so killing them might be good; but we don’t eat them, so eating them must be bad; but we only paint them for scientific purposes so they must be important and shouldn’t suffer; but the scientist-artists can just impale them on tiny spikes and watch them die in agony, that’s cool too. Crazytown! At least in Thailand people eat bugs, so if your lunch is bugs and you want to paint it, nobody’s going to be freaked out.
All very TBD of course. Yes, those last two illustrations are from the pet AI. Ever wonder what it looks like to itself? If all you have are mirrors, how do you know what you look like?