Disgusted but still very hungry
Cristiana Cott Negoescu
Sep 2 – 24, 2022
Over the last century, the fishing industry has changed dramatically, replacing the individual fisherman and his boat with a fleet of floating fish factories. The industrialisation of small and medium-sized enterprises has not only put fishermen out of work, but has also affected their social ecosystem. This change has been driven by increasing demand from wealthy economies around the world. Cristiana Cott Negoescus' work deals with this change and its consequences without pointing a finger at consumers, but tries to paint a picture of where food actually comes from and how it is processed. When it comes to seafood, we tend to consume highly processed foods that are not only unhealthy but also massively impact our environment through their production.
This work seeks to reveal the hidden tragedy in the farming of our food and the struggle of fish to escape their greatest predator: the seafood connoisseur.
Performers: Luca Calaras | Saskia Tamara Kaiser I Nadine Karl | Emma Rüther | Qijia You
The exploitation of natural resources follows a capitalist logic, which is so efficient because we as consumers are part of it. Rarely, however, are we aware of the destructive cycles into which we are fitted. In her performative installation Disgusted, but still very hungry , the artist Cristiana Cott Negoescu addresses the far-reaching ecological and social consequences of industrial fishing and fish farming. Using an installative, performatively activated setting of processual interconnected stations, the artist simulates problematic aspects of overfishing, industrialized fishing and fish farming. In her works, Cristiana deals intensively with the systemic flaws of capitalist consumer society. Her performative settings create chains of action that establish a connection between her work and the audience. Through her interactive script, Cristiana's works reveal exemplarily mechanisms of commercial exploitation. In this invisible area, which is nevertheless an integral part of our consumer society, Disgusted, but still very hungry is settled. Larger-than-life fish, played by performers, operate a feed factory where they process their own species. With the simulation of a dinner table at the end of the production process, the boundaries between humans and animals become blurred.
The hierarchy of who eats whom here dissolves. Cristiana describes industrial fishing and farming as a "system that eats itself." She drastically questions the conviction that fish farming is a more resource-saving option. What Disgusted, but still very hungry reenacts is the usually overlooked fact that fish farming depends on bycatch, which is disastrous for the marine ecosystem, but can eventually be recycled as feed for the farmed fish. The artist thus indirectly raises the question of whether we as consumers do not bear responsibility for the existence of this exploitative system. Fish farming stands here as an example for all those systems whose costs and consequences for others are ignored simply because it is cheap and convenient. Cristiana's installative performances often seem unnecessarily uncomfortable. But they address issues and mechanisms that, if we were fully aware of them, would be even more unpleasant. The creation of such situations, which seem awkward from the outside, is an aesthetic means for her to make the viewer think. Disgusted, but still very hungry copies a cycle that seems absurd, but continues to run because we think there is no way out. Although the artist’s performances seem to be interwoven in their own world, they finally help to understand a part of the "bigger picture" that was previously inaccessible.
The exhibition is supported by Kulturamt Düsseldorf and Bezirksvetretung 2/Flingern-Düsseldorf.
Text: Marina Sammek
Credits by Kai Werner Schmidt