Sub-Concepts: Pain, Cruelty, Images
Description: In order to protest against shark finning, British performing artist Alice Newstead decided to pierce her skin with fish hooks and hang by them in a busy shopping area. Shark finning is removing the shark’s fin (used for food delicacies) which handicaps the shark in the water, leaving them to die.
Interpretation: Over the course of time, we have used protests in order to invoke change. There are multiple avenues to conducting a protest; it could be very violent causing (such as a rebellion against a government) to a non-violent march (such as the March on Washington led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). However, we are able to see another form of protest presented by Alice Newstead in England. Without being violent or even loud for the matter, Newstead is able to invoke a change in the viewers that see her because her protest is not only unusual but it is inflicting pain upon herself in order to bring awareness. This is bizarre to comprehend that Newstead had to go to extreme methods in order to bring awareness about this one topic. However, society now seeks things that are bizarre, we crave to see the unusual and the crazy acts. We do not see a lot of marches or silent protests, but rather we moved on to see new methods of protest. We are tired of the boring usual methods. An example in class we discussed, is if we were driving on the highway, we usually drive right past it, unless if someone is hurt or along those lines. We seek these profane images. Newstead realized this when she did her protest. Others have also realized this, for example the activist group FEMEN in Ukraine, who use topless protest techniques to overthrow a patriarchal society.