[ISEA2015] Artist Statement: Austin Stewart – SECOND LIVESTOCK

Artist Statement also Artist Talk

Performance, Website (2012 – 2015)

Second Livestock is a virtual reality world for battery-farmed chickens. By performing a straightfaced parody of virtual reality platform Second Life, the project attracts non-traditional art audiences to a conversation about the consequences of people choosing to spend more of their lives in virtual spaces, and questions the differences between how we treat animals and how we treat ourselves. The artist performs the presentation in the persona of the CEO of Second Livestock. The vocabulary and visual language of the presentation mocks the hype of technology firms who are perpetually introducing new, disruptive technologies. After the presentation the audience is invited to experience the VR world through the CCI (Chicken-Computer Interface), a prototype consisting of an Oculus Rift VR Headset and a custom-made omni-directional treadmill.

  • Austin Stewart is an American artist who received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He is an Assistant Professor in the Art and Visual Culture and Sustainable Environments programs at Iowa State University. His research is primarily concerned with creating work that engages a diverse, non-traditional audience, and using the work to generate public forums around pressing contemporary issues. His work has been exhibited in national and international exhibitions and has received global press coverage.

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