Beginning in 1982, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice publicly listed the last meals requested by death row inmates. The practice continued into the internet age until, in 2003, the TDJC pulled the meal requests off the web. Reportedly, some people found the listings offensive. (Texas discontinued its practice of granting death row inmates a last meal of their choosing in 2011.)
But the 310 last meal requests made between 1982 and 2003 were nevertheless archived online, and Chicago-based artist collective Lucky Pierre has for 10 years diligently recreated 220 of those meals, videotaping as a volunteer eats the meal. Alone in a quiet room, the volunteer creates a singular, solitary and contemplative performance for one.
Now, Lucky Pierre is working to complete the filming of 310 meals. When completed, the project, “Final Meals,” will include over 100 hours of footage. The compiled videos will be included in “Walls Turned Sideways: Artists Confront the Justice System,” an exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum in Houston curated by Risa Puleo, opening in August 2018.
Working with Austin’s Fluent Collaborative & testsite, Lucky Pierre is cooking and filming “Final Meals” June 2 through June 10. And volunteers are needed for the project.
For more information on the project and to sign up to participate, visit fluentcollab.org/testsite/index.php/projects/index/53
Meal 268 from Kevin Kaempf on Vimeo.