Is Empathy only present if you are well and well fed?

Starvation Diet. What is it?

Mmmmmm chocolate, Mmmmmm sandwich, Mmmmmm doughnuts, Mmmmmm beer. Spoilt for choice. Trying to resist. When I resist I put the money in a pot. When the pot is full I send it (the money, not the pot) to somebody who needs it to survive. The art comes about through the documentation of the process, here and in other places. There is no end to this project.

28 Jun 2011

A few Facts on Stravation

One way of measuring malnutrition in children:
•Mid Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) :
•MUAC <125mm >110mm
•MUAC < 110 mm OR the presence of bipedal oedema

Taken from World Health Organisation web site

Is everybody actually getting fatter?

I've been trying to research vital statistics for a starving woman. The reason for this may seem a little shocking. I want to create a T shirt as a reminder of the extremes of weight which exists between me and somebody who has been deprived of food to the point of starving. I am struggling because as with most subjects things are not as simple as they first appear.
I keep finding a lot of research on the growing obesity epidemic in Developing countries. Its shown in this chart and the quote below from;

"The number of obese people in many countries is fast overtaking the number who are underweight — even in the poorest rural regions (see Figure 2). In Mexico, for example, nearly 60 per cent of people are overweight, compared with less than ten per cent underweight."

I have also ended up going down the route of looking at size 0 and what this means. Its easier to find the vital statistics for this, its 31.5" Bust 23" Waist and 34" Hips. There are lots of articles about starving models and the two sisters models who died of cardiovascular arrest and stomach leaks due to starving themselves. I think this is misleading though as its a very different issue to deprive yourself in a land of plenty than to be the victim of famine. If anybody out there can think of a place to go and look for the info I need it would be a great help. Its the vital statistics of a starving 37 year oldish woman in say Chad, India or Ethiopia.

Economic Rationalism

The true evil of economic rationalism
Vast amounts of value, of jobs and long term sustainability of communities have been destroyed across the world in the name of economic rationalism.
It is economic rational to build "super stores" in small and medium towns to destroy local commerce, drive down prices and create greater levels of consumer debt.
It is economic rational to sell international brands in high spending consumer markets at outrageous mark-ups, while paying children in third world countries a few cents and item to make them under slave conditions;
It is economic rational to make naturally grown pain killer crops illegal in major regions such as Africa, the forcing governments to purchase vast quantities of out of date synthetic pain killers from US and European pharmaceutical companies that remain ineffective and too expensive for 90% of the population.
In all cases, economists argue that these are just extreme cases and that the "free market" has produced phenomenal amounts of wealth and raised the standard of living of countless hundreds of millions.
But is this even true? Does living in a non-de script cul de sac two hours from work with neighbours you don't even know quality of life?
Is a large screen TV, the latest gadgets and internet porn really improving the minds of your children or the closeness of your family?
Are we really happy with everything we buy and still find ways to purchase more? or dow e convince ourselves we are happy, to make sense of a system that seems to lose a little more morality every day?
In the absence of morality in decisions concerning the lives of human beings and its acceptance, it is only "rational" then to conceive of a time in great disasters that governments claim it to be "economically rational" to give up on great numbers of people and let them rot.
When these times approach, the true nature and evil of economic rationalism will reveal itself to be one of the great evil acts of history.

From here:

27 Jun 2011

Failure or not a Failure?

I've sent the starvation diet idea off to a group exhibition about failed art. I'm not really sure if this is failed art but thought that it threw up some interesting ideas about when and why we judge something failed.
The text from this is here:

Starvation Diet Failure Statement

“Starvation Diet” is an art/ life project based around food inequality. The premise was that I resisted food I didn’t need and gave the money saved to charity. The process was documented through, photography, film, text and currently resides on a blog site and a half finished book. As the project developed it involved others in “Starvation Diet, the next generation”, explored an idea called “Extreme Starvation Diet” generated a shared weighing scales element and resulted in my losing 2 stone and giving £367.00 to the charity practical action.

Why do I consider it a failed work?

The true nature of it as failure or success will only be evident at the moment of my death. The aim is to raise £10,000 in my lifetime and to remain at a healthy weight. The work is currently in a state of failure as I am putting on weight, have not donated in 3 months and have stopped noting the things I have resisted. The Next generation have not carried on with the project. The work is part of an effort to create slower art with less of a discernable end. This form of art brings up all sorts of issues around success and failure. At what date do we decide on a projects success and how does this choice of date skew this? When the lines between life and art blur are there more pit falls and less artistic control. As artists do we have the tenacity to stay with long term projects and not be distracted by new ideas and works.

Looking back

Was just looking back at my starvation diet blog and realised that I haven't included anything about the Interactive scales project. The idea came about when I was considering buying a set of scales to weigh myself with. I decided that it was daft to posses something which you would use so infrequently. I also saw a way of picking up my activity levels. I set the rules for weigh in that:
I had to weigh myself on somebody else's set of scales
I had to get there under my own steam
I could only use each set of scales once.

So it began and was charted here: