How do you feel about eating fetus-shaped pudding?

Retno Wulandari   27 February 2017 16:10

An art project held by artist Natasha Gabriella Tontey has taken the Internet by storm.

The art project, made popular under a hashtag #makanmayit, was a dinner party with a baby theme —but not in a cute way. 

Natasha shaped the food into creepy realistic shapes of brains and mini fetuses. One dish was served in a hollowed baby doll.

The dinner party was held at a restaurant in South Jakarta on Feb. 25, in which Natasha tried to introduce cannibalism to her guests. It wasn’t Natasha's first baby-eating themed party, but this one successfully grabbed internet users' attention, especially after the event was published by popular gossip Instagram account, @lambe_turah today.

The reactions are diverse, from anger to support, but most of the comments protested the theme.

Most of the protesters are mothers or those who can relate to motherhood. They said the artsy event was so insensible, insane and even disgusting.

Instagram user @ajengelvaretta also shared her opinion.

I don’t understand and this is incomprehensible. Maybe the artist wanted to convey messages whatsoever (I can’t understand). But what popped into my mind was why they have to use torn baby dolls as a plate or serve fetus-shaped pudding, and the saddest thing is they used baby's sweat extract and breast milk as ingredients.

“I might be dumb in terms of art and philosophy, but I do have common sense. In my imagination, the guests of this dinner party seemed to be happy to play cannibals (maybe this is the message the artist wanted to convey) but it’s not funny... this is an execrable art...

Meanwhile, @putimayang account represents protesting mothers with a #protesmakanmayit hashtag:

“I failed to understand the #makanmayit event, in which they made foods from breast milk and baby sweat extract. Don’t they know what kind of struggle a mother must pass during childbirth, how hard the exclusive breastfeeding could be... babies aren’t jokes... this isn’t an art anymore!”

 

Meanwhile, @why.andrian expressed his/her concern regarding the event:

I can’t believe, and I can’t even imagine what in these people’s behind #makanmayit dinner mind was. Turns out this event had been held twice in Jakarta, but I just knew upon seeing my friend’s Instagram photo depicting baby dolls ‘dissected’ to be serving plates. I initially thought it was a music album cover until my friends on Whatsapp raised conversation about this insane event. I had been in various discussion, read many things, including Vice’s interview with this Tontey artist, I still can’t understand. It can’t fit my sanity, and the event makes me sad.”

 

The Instagram user also stated that such artsy expression is inappropriate. “Talking about the freedom of expression, they have the freedom of how they live their lives, but when it comes to public consumption, it’s a different story. Moreover, the dinner party guests were mostly public figures. They seemed to forget that they have minors amongst their followers, juveniles or could be women who for years longed for unborn children, fathers who have just lost his infant child. This has to stop! This is so wrong!”

Instagram account @jembayu also raised the same opinion.

“Indeed, I’m not an art connoisseur nor art expert, not even one of those ‘artsy hipsters.’ But (I can tell that) the concept of this art is just a total mess, ignorant, and idiotic! That's not even an art anymore, it's a mental issue! This is disgusting, sorry to say!”

On the other hand, singer Kartika Jahja, one of the guests in the dinner party, came up with a reason why she was interested in attending the party. She also apologized if #makanmayit photos have raised concerns among Internet users.

Twitter user @arimajinarie also expressed his/her support to the artist.

 

The artist came up with an explanation to the public. “I tried to explore the psychodynamics of cannibal fantasies in a performative dinner ‘Fresh Flesh Feast.’ Building up a fictional orphanage organized by a nun who also runs a meat shop that sells babies meat for public,” she wrote, as cited from @maknawicom. “Examine the fantasies of love and possession, swallowing a baby’s arm with a splatter of blood with another dish made out of mother’s milk animating every vision with a great desire and pleasure.”

 

Penjelasan #makanmayit oleh Natasha Tontey. Kamu pro atau kontra? "I tried to explore the psychodynamics of cannibal fantasies in a performative dinner “Fresh Flesh Feast”. Building up a fictional orphanage organised by a Nun who also runs as a meat shop that sells babies meat for public. Examine the fantasies of love and possession, swallowing a baby’s arm with a splatter of blood with another dish made out of mother’s milk animating every vision with a great desire and pleasure. Tales of cannibalism have terrified and enthralled listeners for centuries. It has though considerable dissent potential, past and present. It is the ultimate punishment of transgressing the moral code of religious fundamentalism. Twisting the satirical essay by Jonathan Swift in 1972 ‘A Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick’, this work cultivates an analogy between eating people and other ways in which people, or a nation, can be devoured. Also as an attempt to interrupt the constructed manner of today’s world Whilst reproduction means of future, the reproductive imperative is part of a narrative of optimism, inherent to the capitalist system. No reproduction conveys no future, but capitalism carries no future as well. Financial futurism cannot sustain actual existence in the long run. A burlesque of project concerning the poor as the utilisation of an economic system based on poor people selling their children to be eaten, claiming that this would benefit the economy, family values, and general happiness. The performative dinner were made for public, the dishes were made out of real breast milk and baby’s sweat with no offence. I question the audience to discuss the cannibalism through a feast. Living a precarious life means becoming violence-proof. In this state, violence is material, it is the act of subsistence. Does this affect us as in some way? escaping a single identication pattern in moral construction and beyond the dissatisfaction or gratification binary. Is the psychiatrical nature shared by everyone?" Video: NGT #MaknawiVideo

Sebuah kiriman dibagikan oleh Maknawi.com - Jadilah Bermakna (@maknawicom) pada

 

She also stated that her project was an attempt to interrupt the system supporting this modern world in its relation to reproduction and capitalism. She also emphasized that to live this tough life, one must be violence-proof. Through the feast, she wanted to have a discussion about cannibalism with her guests.

Natasha is known for her interest in human's fear. She held an exhibition in Yokohama, Japan, last January, entitled the "Little Shop of Horrors." 

 

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