What if humans are not at the top of food chain? (2022)

UK / 2022
Royal College of Art

The concept that "humans are at the top of the food chain" has been used to provide moral justification for human consumption and exploitation of other species. Vegetarians have exposed the reasons why meat enthusiasts naturally consume animals. As someone who loves both meat and animals, I have started to reevaluate my moral stance. I find myself to be a well-intentioned hypocrite: I treat different animals based on emotional needs, enjoying the emotional companionship animals offer while turning certain animals into my plate.

However, as the rulers of the natural world, humans are destined to operate in a manner centered around humanity, such as establishing a high-productivity food system. Perhaps we should not try to resist this reality but instead take the lead in reshaping a more sustainable and equitable ecosystem. For example, we could consider establishing a non-pyramid-shaped food chain. What if humans were no longer at the top of the food chain? What if other animals consumed humans? Or, what if we experienced the feeling of being consumed by other creatures?

Inspired by the book "Exchange Bodies with Animals" by Japanese illustrator Satoru Kawasaki, I attempted to rethink my body in a more audacious way. I created a series of Shurong-animal photos through a combination of photography and Photoshop techniques and designed an edible post-human recipe book for animals, showcasing which animals might consume us when we are no longer at the top of the food chain.In the end, as someone with ornithophobia, I decided to challenge myself by experiencing what it would be like to be eaten by birds. I made a bread-shaped foot and wore it, then ventured into Hyde Park in London to practice what it might be like to be consumed by swans.