think, I do not even know your name, though I worked with you so often toward
the end, when professional fasting fell out of vogue.
I must tell you, though, that I was surprised that you did not come,
even once, when the Hunger Artist had signed up with the circus and was placed
outside before the animals. His
powers had become, quite simply, awesome.
right, of course, about how to sustain the public’s interest.
The key is showmanship. As
you know, my job, as a visual artist, was to dramatize the spirit in conflict
with the body. With the Hunger Artist, this was evidenced in his eyes and in
particular facial expressions and body postures. To find the perfect contrast between one's will and the
posture of a body suffering extreme hunger was my goal. People did come, even after all the other artists had failed.
I attribute this entirely to your skill and knowledge of the limits of
entertainment, especially as it relates to matters of art.
Hunger Artist died (who knows how long he actually went without food—they
stopped counting after 57 days), they buried him along with his fouled straw
in a heap out in the back, where they had buried the elephant Lulu the day
before. They replaced him with a
leopard, and the question about bad location (the Hunger Artist’s argument)
was answered post-humously: people flocked to watch the beast pace back and
forth, and gorge himself on food. It
was never the act—this is what I learned by watching the leopard.
It was that people wanted to be near to danger while still remaining
safe. It took me a while to
realize that it was the threat that their children would stop eating that
drove people to see the Hunger Artist. Once this illusion waned, fasting died along with it.
Pardon the terrible pun.
recently died of a heart attack and the circus put in a fat baboon and a large
scale. I'm thinking of a
career change, and was wondering if you might be available for lunch.