The last Taboo: DONE TO DEATH

 Grayson Perry recently said that the last taboo was armpit hair. Well.... what about armpit hair AND death- yeah..What about it?
D.I.Y Taxidermy VII
A live and interactive taxidermy performance where we skin and stuff an animal LIVE using only what you have lying around the house. A cross between Blue Peter and an insane game show where
YOU can WIN!

Win real life dead artwork and the chance to immortalise a creature we have grown to know and love.
Including a live band
Me and Douglas as a young girl
So...... I skinned my beloved cat Douglas whom I've kept in the freezer for 15 years ( I always knew I would bring him back to life one's what he would have wanted), in front of a live audience.

This is the 7th instalment of D.I.Y.T and to be honest I've gone a bit mental. On purpose.  Pulling out bigger and bigger stops, bigger tits, bigger explosions, more gore....Over sensationalised, over stimulated and desensitised at the same time. We are so far removed that nothing shocks us.....The meaning of life seems to be lost.
Pointless sensationalism. Carelessly shocking.
Life is cheap and apparently meaningless.
But no one seems to think about that. Distracted by the flashing lights.... Audience members winning discarded lives like consumer products.

 How ironic.

Yes. That's the show. One big ironic joke. But if you do look deeper, if you do have the sense to see through the bravado and the showmanship you will find a point so sharp it wounds you. I care so much...but the show is just that-A SHOW. An assault of senses and completely senseless at the same time. . . .
"When an idea I have makes me feel sick..... I know it's a good one."
The first good Idea I had was in 2010. It was to do live taxidermy. of which i had no experience. I brought it to the stage first- Since then others have followed. Workshops popping up here and there, live shows ect but I've taken taxidermy to places it never thought it would go.

 Despite what you may I have read I am not a taxidermist. I am an artist.
Taxidermists create the illusion of life...where as I preserve the reality of death. 'Pissing on tradition', opening up a perviously dark and mysterious world and turning the meaning of life and death on it's head. Taxidermists have rules. They are rigid, artists have no rules- they can go places, they can overstep there mark. It is their job to force light on things we don't want to look at. And death in all it's totality is the last taboo. 

I came into taxidermy by accident. I never wanted to become one(taxidermist not taxidermy)- i'm still proudly not and to this day have never done any genuine taxidermy. It was an accident that spiraled out of control, but as I lost control I started to care: More and more about animals, about how we use and abuse them for our own commercial gain. This discovery of the simple facts of unseen life turned me vegan. I couldn't justify such cruelty, worse things happened to animals that are alive.

After an animal has been stripped of it's useful parts it is discarded. I stared actively seeking out places of death,  saving the abandoned and incorporating these silently lost and discarded lives into assemblage sculpture, preserving the reality of their death. Showing the brutality, the sheer horror of what is left behind, including smell- and boy do my sculptures/performances smell.

We have become so far removed from the reality of basically everything in life. We have no clue about anything that goes on behind closed doors. It is so neatly packaged and life made so easy for us we never question why or how. We just carry on living...but we are not living because we are not experiencing the truth.

 The truth of own own body hair, bodily functions, where our food comes from, what happens when our rubbish leaves the bin, the damaging chemical products in shampoo, how drugs are made (ect ect). Nothing is real. What we read in magazines, porn sights, what appears on our dinner plate. Everything is glossed over and reality taken away from us, making our lives pleasant and seamless...But that is not real life.

We don't have any genuine experiences any more. And if we don't experience it how can we know...and if we don't know how can we care?
BUT through art (sometimes) you can have experiences...... Even my armpit hair.

I started the show by ripping my t-shirt off to reveal the most slaggish dress I own- One with blinged out tits and there was a lot of tit. I also loudly and proudly brandished my terrific armpit hair. Because feminism is cool and important. Feminism simply means: 'Equal rights for woman' .
That's all. I do not understand how people can say they are not feminists or that it's too much or whatever..They simply haven't read the dictionary.
 The Taxidermy that's being created isn't about caring. It's about something else. People will get board (they already are) and taxidermy will be shunned, banished back to the attic. Only to be dusted down a hundred years later, the memory of the past faded....and just like fashion it will be recycled with a new zany twist. ..The same thing again and... god i'm bitter.

Here's another thing i'm bitter about-  I never use pet supplies. I only use discarded animals and waste products. I don't believe that pet shop bought rats and rodents are 'ethically sourced'. For one it's not ethical to keep the animals the rodents are intended to feed. It is a cruel and selfish act to keep an animal that you can't provide a decent life for. A cage isn't a life. I believe that animals should be free. The rodents are like battery chickens. Bred to be used and born to die. Just because it says on the tin 'none of the animals died for the purpose of taxidermy' doesn't mean that it it's ethical- it's not. Buy buying them you are still buying into the industry and supporting it.

Anyway rant over: Back to singing and dancing.

 This as the first show I've done in a year and since announcing my retirement.
 I decided to pack 'taxidermy' in. Too many people on the motorway. Everybody wants a piece. The market will become so saturated, art schools flooded with ten a penny pieces. Life should mean more than this. But it doesn't.
So now I've retired what's going to happen to the gaping wound in the performance world? What am I going to do now? Well obviously before I retire completely I must take it another step further. Take taxidermy places it has never been..... Like Musicals!!! Lets make the dead sing and dance! Lets make them

Maybe that will make people care. Probably not.

For the finally of D.I.Y Taxidermy: CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE? I got my stinking, singing badger out.
 We gave the best performance to date. The live bands was an amazing addition. I had goose pimples. The crowd went wild and I ended on a high note. So that's good.
SING FOR YOUR LIFE! Hundred Years Gallery, Soundtracks festival May 2012

Obviously there's no pictures from D.I.Y.T.VII.C.G.Y.T.
 I don't believe in them. Story's are better when they are distorted. I'm excited for the Chinese whispers! They always make me laugh. So just remember that everything you hear isn't true. The only genuine source of information about me Here is where the horses mouth is. This website genuinely won't show up in google...or any other search engine. :D
 I've never wanted to be on the motorway......

Many massive thanks to the terrific band consisting of the best piano player I've ever heard. Honestly you could watch this guy play all day. I also had a fiddler who again, blew me away. No rehearsals, no music sheet but perfect pitch, perfect improve. And to top it all off we had a spontaneous singer who was Fan-fooking-tastic! They played all the top cat related hits and really set the ironic tone. IT WAS A MAGICAL COMBINATION.
Thanks to the audience too. I think there was only two walk outs (Ha ha) I did say the show came with a warning ;)

Love from
Charlie Gates


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