Friday, June 7, 2013


On a smoggy summer day, a crowd of mainland Chinese locals, miscellaneous foreigners and the state-controlled press corps congregate in a quiet public park in Nanjing. There is a crowd forming around an oddly-shaped, dead cow. Nearby, old men are playing mahjong in front of the pinned-butterfly museum.
At a few minutes past 2 PM, a skinny, naked Chinese man explodes out of the cow screaming his head off. He is dripping gore and throwing an armful of rose petals into the air. "You're joking!" screams a middle-aged park guard as the crowd applauds. Within minutes the police arrive to try and shut things down but the art exhibition goes on.
Though the police occupy the staging area, an eighteen year-old kid is tying up a hundred sparrows into two flapping bundles behind the museum. He flaps his arms up and down in a grimly poetic attempt at flight as the frenzied birds get more and more tangled up. New crowds are jostling into position and now every paper in town is frantically photographing what seems to be a public display of what hell is like. The birds squeal and peck each other as blood flies in all directions. After ten seconds of trying to fly, the kid cuts both bundles of bound sparrows from his arms and throws them into the air. They get caught in a tree momentarily and then fall back to the cement in a quivering, twitching heap.
At this point the crowd is both mortified and curious. Children are crying but nobody is leaving. Then, two bored-looking young artists tie up a goat and pump it full of whiskey and sedatives. After shaving off half its hair and pouring coke and whipped cream all over the stumbling animal, they kick it around the park. The audience is now divided. Half follow the young boys, clapping their hands like some sort of macabre death party. The other half either leave or stand there crying.
The people who put on this event call themselves Bloody Diarrhea. Their motto is "Let there be revolution!" and they represent a generation that is "nauseated by mainstream Chinese art such as paintings of happy peasants pointing at the red sun rising over a field heralding the coming of Mao's utopia." Between China's new slobbering capitalist markets and the endless public farting of the corrupt Chinese government, Bloody Diarrhea sticks out like a sore thumb. This is still China, remember. There are more official executions here each year than in the rest of the world combined and it is still illegal to say anything publicly against the government.
After the press were notified of the Nanjing performance, dozens of articles appeared in all the voices of the Party. The media unanimously denounced the animal show as an "event of ultimate evil" and as "more spiritual pollution from the West."
It is pretty evil. One couldn't help but almost puke as an eleven year-old girl tried desperately to pick flopping fish out of the glass-shards of one artists' finished display. The more she helped that one fish the more the artist shoved still-living fish and glass into an overstuffed garbage bag. "People say we are disgusting and we are," says their anonymous spokesman. "We represent the disgusting life we have here. The disgusting control the state has over us."
Bloody Diarrhea claim their shows are actually centered on promoting the need for Chinese to live more harmoniously with animals but they show little concern as to how this message is conveyed. "We are just here to destroy. Our message may come second."
The finale of the Nanjing performance consisted of another skinny naked guy who filled a cauldron with water and soy sauce, lit a fire underneath and, holding a shrieking, trussed-up pig, jumped in the pot, staying in until his skin began to blister. He then threw the pig into the air, jumped out of the pot and ran into the sunset. The crowd went wild.

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