What Do Sex Cults, Spirit Cooking, Cannibalism, and Will Ferrell Have to do With Each Other?

Chicken Heart Art

By William M Briggs Published on May 7, 2018


Would you agree to stand nude in front of a group of strangers while I, clad in black and masked, stood behind you and slingshotted a plateful of raw chicken hearts at you until they raised painful welts?

No? How about gizzards?

You philistine. You obviously have no appreciation for art.

Marina Abramovic appreciates art in ways you would never think of. It was her namesake foundation that thought up the chicken-heart art, about which more below.

Spirit Cooking Redux

Remember Abramovic? She became a brief household name during the election when it was revealed she invited Hillary campaign chairman John Podesta to a “spirit cooking” dinner. Spirit cooking is mealtime art. Recipes include mixtures of pain and bodily fluids.

The name of this avant-garde chef popped up again recently after the arrest of NXIVM sex-cult actress Allison Mack. Mack recruited, and attempted to recruit, famous women for the cult. Before her performance as prisoner, Mack without explanation intriguingly tweeted a headshot of Abramovic.

It’s Pronounced Nix-ee-um

So Abramovic, who preaches pain, is tied to Mack, who is tied to NXIVM. The latest news about NXIVM is that its resident doctor, Brandon Porter, has been charged with conducting illegal human experiments.

One woman complained Porter made her “watch disturbing rape and dismemberment videos for a ‘fright study'”:

“He continued to film my reaction for at least 10 minutes as I just sat there, dry heaving like I was going to puke and crying very hard,” Kobelt, a Canadian actress, said in the complaint to the Health Department, adding that Porter began showing her the violent images without warning.

Porter reportedly did this to “as many as 100 people.”

He is accused of showing “human subjects an actual video of the horrific and brutal murders and dismemberment of four women by machetes; and violent film clips, including a male African American being viciously stomped by a Nazi; a conscious male being forced to eat a portion of his own brain matter; and a graphic gang rape.”

He is also charged with violating state law for improperly conducting studies on obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and one monitoring the brain waves of those who attended Nxivm programs.

Does This Taste Funny to You?

Cannibalism, as you can see, is another persistent theme. Of course, eating people can be very artistic. All the best people think so.

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The singer Katy Perry does. In her popular video Bon Appétit the little-clothed Perry is peeled, peppered, powered and prepped by a team of chefs as a party of dinner guests watches in anticipation. The twist is that as the guests are about to dig in, the chefs release Perry and dismember the guests (blood flies everywhere) to serve to Perry!

If that’s not art, nothing is.

Perry took this art to the Whitney Museum in New York and preformed it live to astonished patrons. Perry’s head was in a plate surrounded by fruit. Museum patrons were told it is a real exhibit.

Perhaps this art was in homage — a word art people use — to Marina Abramovic. Our spirit cooker earlier put on a cannibal dinner for a fundraiser at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

Abramovic served up ersatz, but very realistic looking, human flesh and guts to patrons who were made to wear white lab coats so as not to spill viscera on their clothing. Nude actors and actresses laid on tables in the capacity of plates.

That’s Not Funny, Man

Among the many celebrities present — and who is more important than celebrities? — was Will Ferrell. He is the comedian who dressed as a demon on a recent TruTV show. He led the host of the show through a satanic ritual in which the host was covered in filth and degraded by chanting demonettes. But it was all good, dirty fun — and because it was on television, it was art.

Ferrell was not the only celebrity to eat faux people and celebrate pain. And Abramovic is not the only artist working with these materials.

Which brings us back to chicken hearts.

Blurred Lines

The Marina Abramovic Institute “explores, supports, and presents performance[s]” inspired by their master. The slingshotted chicken hearts were a portion of the piece entitled “Human Flesh.” The focus of the performance was pain.

No doubt the artists and audience think they’re in on some kind of clever joke. In reality, they’re toying with forces they don’t understand, and can’t control.

“Pain,” the description tells us, “creates tension between the public and the artist.” Boy, howdy, does it ever. Imagine the tension of those watching a nude woman “seen slapping herself until bruises and blisters formed on her skin.” Or of the performers who “set fire to their clothes, pressing the burning fabric against their flesh to extinguish the flames.” Or the guy who stubbed out cigarettes on himself.

Or the man who was zinged by chicken hearts. I forgot to mention that after the slingshot performer had his way with the nude man, “the audience [was] invited to take part in bombarding him.” Thus “the line between performer and viewer is blurred, as the performance comes to an end.”

No doubt the artists and audience think they’re in on some kind of clever joke. In reality, they’re toying with forces they don’t understand, and can’t control.

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