Remember when art was people doing things like painting, dancing or making music? Maybe some sculpture? Well, it looks like those days really are over for good. Why? Because if the work of artist Marion Laval-Jeantet, who allowed herself to be injected with horse blood plasma and then performed a “communication ritual” with a horse while wearing prosthetic horse-like stilts is anything to go by, the “weirdness bar” has just been set too high for anyone to do something normal ever again.
Marion originally planned to have herself injected with panda blood, as a commentary on the growing number of animals facing extinction, but after being told “No, go away, you’re crazy” (at least that’s what I imagine they said) by a number of labs, she found one that said they’d help. Unfortunately this lab didn’t have any pandas so she settled for a horse:
I quickly chose the horse. Of couse the animal is fiercely symbolic, already the object of all sorts of hybrid fantasies such as the centaur, but it was also the impressive distance that existed between the equine physiology and the human physiology that interested us as researchers. The idea of an endangered animal was no longer present, but it was more about looking at the question of an unlikely hybridisation and our relationship to the Other animal in general.
From the outset I’d like to reject the general dismissal that I’ve been confronted with by the most sceptical. It was not, of course, a direct blood transfusion from horse to man. The question that arose with the biologists was to know which components of horse blood should be conserved. Quickly we decided to retain the plasma and a large part of the immunoglobulins. The immunoglobulins are vectors of the reactivity of the organism. They target specific organs or muscles in particular, triggering a biochemical chain reaction.
So, after I tested my body with the neuroendocrine immunoglobulins it was practically impossible for me to sleep for a week and I had extreme and slightly aggressive reactions to stimuli; a slammed door, a tap on the shoulder. As such, I was experiencing the hyper-reactivity of the horse in my flesh.
The main aim of the performance to come is to take in a large number of immunoglobulins all together, so that I can feel another way of living rather than just the human. If one goes back to the terminology of the posthuman, to be human outside of the human is, perhaps, to undergo this type of experience, where a man that becomes a human/animal hybrid is finally extra-human.
After the performance, Marion said:
“I had the feeling of being extra-human, I was not in my usual body. I was hyper-powerful, hyper-sensitive, hyper-nervous and very diffident. the emotionalism of an herbivore. I could not sleep. I probably felt a bit like a horse”.
God, people are stupid sometimes…