No. 127

The Pecking Order, 2015

By : mellajaarsma

Entrant’s location : Indonesia



Two costumes of chicken leather, stuffed chickens, cutlery, stainless steel construction, fresh parsley. Photography by Mie Cornoedus.

Why did you make it?

This work started from the idea that we never can get rid of hierarchical systems. Living in Indonesia ,I am confronted with this daily reality in the society with social extremes. When people come together to create a social organization, consciously or unconsciously, a hierarchical system is created. It seems only human that we cannot live without a “pecking order”, intended to create a balanced system of security, safety and prosperity. Both in their immediate community as well as in broader society, individuals are aware of their status, rights and obligations, and position themselves accordingly. Within this framework, it should really be possible to self-govern. ‘The Pecking Order’ starts from the idea that we cannot free ourselves from dominant hierarchies, which shape and impact our behavior. In extreme situations, bounderies seperating the oppressor and the oppressed can be clear, but often they become blurred. The position of an oppressor or oppressed can in fact be interchangeable, depending on the environment, the circumstances and the era one lives in.

How did you make it?

I worked together with two men. One man every day slaughtered thirty chickens, early morning at 4 o'clock, peeled the skins off and brought the meat to the market. We met early morning and I brought the bag with skins to a man who prepares and processes skin into leather. We repeated this process every few day until we got approximately 150 skins and processed into leather. It was not an easy task because the chicken skin is very greasy, which you have to get rid off for the leather process. I worked at a welding workshop to create the stainless steel construction and I sew the chickens skins by hand around it. I also ordered the stuffed chickens to make.

Your entry’s specification

The work is to be shipped knock down 80 x 70 x 30 cm approx. weight 20 kg