Danish artist Marco Evaristti is famous for his subversive art installations, like one in which visitors were invited to purée live goldfish in a blender. His next project: inheriting the corpse of Gene Hathorn, a prisoner on Texas's death row. When Hathorn is executed, his remains will be freeze-dried, and the resulting exhibit will urge spectators to feed Hathorn to aquarium fish. The artist spoke with Charlie Ferro:
Is this project simply an anti-death-penalty statement?
I just want to pose the question "Is it right?" Art must stay ahead of society. I know the things I do create polemics.
So is capital punishment wrong?
I have a mixed opinion about capital punishment, but keeping a man on death row for 24 and a half years? That's not humane ... If they are going to give a death sentence, why not do it on the spot?
Disgust will be most people's likely reaction to this exhibit. Are you trying to augment this reaction, or to subvert it?
I simply want to formulate a question and underscore a double standard: people think it's disgusting to use a corpse, but not disgusting to kill.
Will people really feed the fish with a freeze-dried corpse?
They won't be forced to do it, but if they don't, the fish will die.