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Bottom Feeder

by Patricia Piccinini (2009)
 

The Bottom Feeder looks at the idea of duality, and also our relationship with other creatures and the environment. This is an imagined creature that been designed to eat rubbish, with a metabolism engineered to process plastic. It is an unlovely role, the kind that humans seem very happy to consign to …others‘. It is also is literally 'two-faced'. It's true face is shark-like, and a reference to the vital role these much maligned scavengers play in keeping the sea floors clear. In fact, the majority of sharks live on dead creatures scavenged from the sea floor, and without them the bottom of the sea would be a much dirtier place. In Australia, we do have the occasional shark attack and people tend to look at them as dangerous animals. However, more people are killed each year by pets than by sharks.

Like a shark, the Bottom Feeder seems to be one thing but it is actually another. When you first see it, you see what appears to be a strange, smiling face. However, this is not his face at all. it is actually his bottom. This is a common trick in the insect and reptile world, known as Batesian mimicry, a deception aimed at misdirecting potential predators. In this case, that predator is humans. The face is designed to appeal to people, to endear the animal to us or at least amuse us. This is a reminder that we are in fact the 'apex predator' of pretty much every ecosystem on the planet. Sharks have much more to fear from us than we do from them.

As with much of my work, part of the dynamic revolves around the way that the work challenges the viewer to empathise with the creature. On so many level, the Bottom Feeder is an …other‘ and a lowly on at that. However, there is a certain dignity in his modest status and role. He is marked and scarred and somewhat scruffy, and his most attractive feature is his absurd bottom, but beneath his strangeness there is something that might be valued and loved.

 

 

 

Interview with The Condition Report by Patricia Piccinini and The Condition report

Just Because Something Is Bad, Doesn't Mean It Isn't Good by Basak Doga Temur

Patricia Piccinini interviewed by Jane Messenger by Jane Messenger

Speculative Fabulations for Technoculture's Generations by Donna Haraway

The Naturally Artificial World by Laura Fernandez Orgaz and Patricia Piccinini

Border Patrol by Stella Brennan

We Are Family: Patricia Piccinini at the 50th Biennale of Venice by Linda Michael

Patricia Piccinini's Offspring by Peter Hennessey

Fast forward: accelerated evolution by Rachel Kent

One Night Love by Nikos Papastergiadis

Autoerotic by Amanda Rowell

One Night Love by Linda Michael

Atmosphere by Juliana Engberg

Biopshere by Edward Colless

Patricia Piccinini: Ethical Aesthetics by Jacqueline Millner

Patricia Piccinini - Early Installations by Peter Hennessey

The NESS Project and the Birth of Truck Babies by Hiroo Yamagata

Some thoughts about Embryo by Patricia Piccinini

The Rookie by Patricia Piccinini

The Shadows Calling by Patricia Piccinini

Meditations on the continuum of vitality by Patricia Piccinini

Six observations about The Skywhale by Patricia Piccinini

Those Who Dream by Night by Patricia Piccinini

The Fitzroy Series by Patricia Piccinini

Eulogy by Patricia Piccinini

The Lovers by Patricia Piccinini

The Welcome Guest by Patricia Piccinini

The Observer by Patricia Piccinini

Aloft by Patricia Piccinini

Balasana by Patricia Piccinini

The Gathering by Patricia Piccinini

Perhaps the World is Fine Tonight by Patricia Piccinini

Bottom Feeder by Patricia Piccinini

Not Quite Animal by Patricia Piccinini

The Long Awaited by Patricia Piccinini

The Foundling by Patricia Piccinini

In Another Life by Patricia Piccinini

Big Mother by Patricia Piccinini

Bodyguard by Patricia Piccinini

Sandman by Patricia Piccinini

The Leather Landscape by Patricia Piccinini

The Young Family by Patricia Piccinini

Still Life With Stem Cells by Patricia Piccinini

Swell by Patricia Piccinini

The Breathing Room by Patricia Piccinini

Truck Babies by Patricia Piccinini