New York Daily Photo Analytics

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

At Arm's Length

We like our fish served on a plate, beautifully filleted with decorative garnishes - a presentation where there is no hint of the necessary reality behind the process of getting an animal to the dinner table. No matter how humane the process is, most people would find a visit to the best of slaughterhouses, poultry farms and perhaps some of the markets in Chinatown to be unsettling.
One of my first postings on this website was a live poultry house on the lower east side - cages of birds stacked floor to ceiling with slaughtering done on site. I was just fascinated that such a place existed. No big deal for some people, but to a city dweller like me, this was a real eye opener.
With overcrowding of residents, a concentration of immigrants, restaurants and limited space, Chinatown is teeming with sights, smells and customs alien to most outsiders - like the sale of live frogs, birds, turtles and fish. Walking down Mott Street with a friend, we watched a fish flop its final throws as a worker was tossing live fish onto ice. No mollycoddling innocent eyes here.
There is a problem with all the the garbage from all these fish markets, which includes the various remains from the myriad the fish sold. This is not the place to spend a steamy August day. Community efforts are being made to improve the situation, but it is a tough situation.
In a bizarre and surprising twist, one person has found a way to reuse animal parts. A recent story in the New York Times tells of artist Nate Hill who conducts "Chinatown garbage taxidermy tours." He and a group forage through garbage in Chinatown for fish parts. His A.D.A.M. Project (A Dead Animal Man) is a sculpture of a human built entirely from animal parts - thirteen species are included in the finished human being: chicken, conch, cow, crab, deer, dog, duck, eel, fish, frog, lobster, rabbit, and shark. If you see the exhibit, let me know about it. I'll be keeping it at arm's length ...

4 comments:

Lucy said...

That is amazing, building a body from animal parts thrown away, it's like Frankenstein or something...he must have been reading Mary Shelly.
Yes, that area is much closer to what the past was like in NYC than other areas...one of the last stands that has not been gentrified.

g_mirage said...

reality is harsh at times...glad to hear about the reusing but won't that be a smelly scultpture? A good day to you!

Anonymous said...

this post is bringing an interesting perspective to an obscure corner, as you often have on this site.

Rian said...

I remember seeing an article / video about Nate Hill. His artwork really creeped me out.