The Student Who Ate His Own Hip as an Art Project
To get your university art project featured on TIME,the Huffington Post, the Independent, the Mirror, the Telegraph and Die Welt in the same week isn’t an easy feat. It takes talent, dedication, good connections and, occasionally, boiling and eating a chunk of your own body.
That’s the path taken by 25-year-old Norwegian Alexander Selvik Wengshoel. Wengshoel was born with a deformed hip and has spent most of his life in pain, enduring years in a wheelchair, hours of morphine treatment, and countless surgeries. Four years ago he was offered a metal hip replacement, which he accepted on the grounds that his doctors let him film the operation and keep the old hip. When he got home he cooked the flesh and ate it with some potato gratin and a glass of wine, all in the name of art.
I met up with him to find out why.
VICE: Your piece The Body Project has garnered a lot of media attention. When did you decide to turn your body into art?
Alexander Wengshoel: Back in 2010, I was studying animation. My tutor showed me the bloody art of Hermann Nitsch, and I was truly mesmerized and very inspired. Plus, I find blood fascinating. Then suddenly I got word that my final hip operation was going to take place—the surgery promised to make my life pain-free and liveable. My tutor said that the story was too strong not to be documented and used. So I got the idea of filming it and taking the replaced hipbone home with me.
How did you convince the hospital to let you film the surgery and take the hip home?
I called the hospital and they immediately said no to filming. I kept on calling though, several times a day, until they put me through to my main surgeon. He also turned me down at first, but after I told him my nightmare story and presented my project he said, “Hell yes.” Luckily he is very interested in art and loved the idea.
Then there was the question of the hipbone. Usually they crush it to powder and use it for medical moulding materials. Keeping my hip was also totally out of the question. But I gave them an ultimatum: Either I keep it, or I go to another hospital. We argued until the surgeon finally was sick of the bitching nurses and let me have it my way.
Schools have long been used as military recruitment centers—as training grounds, in fact, with “hundreds of thousands of secondary students” undergoing military instruction on high school campuses well before they can legally consent to enlist.
With the help of schools across the country, the US military is exploiting a loophole in the law to gather personal information on millions of Americans.
Hey, Students! Here’s How to Make Sure Your Life Isn’t Shit in 2014
This year, around 2.5 million people will live the student life. You poor, fuckers. For many of last September’s freshmen, there will be as much as $30,000 worth of debt to look forward to the moment they collect their diplomas and get that precious first glimpse down the barrel of graduate despair.
Those who have been students for a year or two now will be starting to realize that, beneath the tranquillizing veil of $3 pitchers and student discounts, their prospects are actually pretty horrible. While tuition increases at public and private school has been slowing down recently, reports show that net costs—what you and your parents pay after scholarships and grants—are at an all-time high.
So, these days you can add academic profiteering to all the usual troubles: deadlines, mono, freshmen 15, finding yourself, losing yourself, and Tinder dates over $5 stone-baked bar pizzas. Then there’s the legal-high Russian roulette the government is aiding by instantly banning any new substance to emerge from Hangzhou’s chemical factories.
SILENT BUT DEADLY: SCHOOL COPS ARREST STUDENTS FOR TALKING TOO LOUDLY, GRAFFITI, AND… FARTING
Fourteen-year old Kaleb Winston was wearing a “graffiti-patterned backpack” when the Salt Lake City police’s gang unit rounded him and more than a dozen other students up one December school day in 2010. The bi-racial freshman, who at the time held down jobs in the school cafeteria and as a basketball referee, was questioned and then photographed holding a sign reading: “My name is Kaleb Winston and I am a gang tagger.” Found guilty of nothing, the students’ personal information was nonetheless added to a “gang database.”
The National Rifle Association’s call to place armed police officers in schools nationwide in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut massacre has been derided as “revolting, tone-deaf” (Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy) and even a “completely dumbass idea” (Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter). It is all of those things. But what most reports neglect to mention is the fact that armed police are already present in many schools.
"I agree that the NRA’s suggestion is absurd" says Aaron Kupchik, a University of Delaware sociologist whose 2010 book Homeroom Security: School Discipline in an Age of Fear examines the now-commonplace presence of armed police in schools nationwide. “The public is missing the point that we’ve already made schools more into police zones over the past 20 years.”
More than a third of American sheriffs’ departments and nearly half of all police departments have officers assigned to local schools, according to Department of Justice statistics from early last decade. Students today are arrested in school for offenses that include talking back to a police officer, doodling on a desk with an erasable marker, farting, and being an eight-year old throwing a temper tantrum. In other words: criminalizing childhood misbehavior.
In 2011, Southeastern Washington high school students were told to leave class so that a dog could smell their backpacks to see if they had drugs. This far-from-atypical search did not, according to the ACLU, uncover any dangerous drug dealers, nor was it based on any reasonable suspicion that students were using drugs: of two students singled out for a “more invasive search and questioning,” one had, apparently, a marijuana pipe; the other was drug-free. No other drugs were found. And even if they had been…Eviscerating fundamental civil liberties seems like a high price to pay in order to track down a pot-smoking teenager.
Despite Jamie Taete’s opinions on the worthlessness of going to school for some bullshit like photography, our UK offices have a whole Flickr account chock-full of pictures submitted by students. Every so often they dive into that (often terrible) digi-abyss of scholastic photography and pull out the very best of the best to put on their website. These are those.
Read the rest at Vice Magazine: Vice Magazine | Event & Party Photos