DIE GUTE BUTTER / DIE POLITIK DES BUTTER KÖRPERS (THE GOOD BUTTER / POLITIC OF THE BUTTER BODIES)
“Die Gute Butter / Die Politik des Butter Körpers (The Good Butter / Politic of the Butter Bodies)” is the second performance in the ongoing series, the “Butter Body Politic (BBP).” The BBP proposes butter as a metaphor for the body politic: feminist, queer, collective language for a body politic with a public body. The languages of butter—material, bodily, written, performative, social and political—are slippery.
The first performance in this series, “Butter Body Politic,” first took place at Strange Loop Gallery in New York City, January 2014. In this performance, the artist sculpted approximately ten pounds of butter onto her head, rendering herself an unrecognizable butter monster.
“Die Gute Butter” takes a more linguistic, metaphorical approach by translating butter’s material and social languages into body language. This performance took place on a borrowed stage in the courtyard of an eleventh century castle in Salzburg, Austria. The piece combines improvisation with a written score based in the material language of butter (i.e.: melt, blob, spread, mound, etc.). All of the directives within the score act both as noun and verb, allowing for significant slippage in the translation between languages surrounding this loaded substance. During the fifteen minute performance, the artist moves around the stage finding language for her fat, female body through the material language of butter. It is important to note that the artist is a fat woman wearing compression garments/shapewear. It was performed live to unsuspecting international tourists and video-documented.
According to Nazi Herman Göring, “Guns will make us powerful, butter will only make us fat.” A guns vs. butter macroeconomic model calls upon nation-states to balance the needs of the military (guns) against the needs of the people (butter). The New York State Fair hosts an 800 lb (360 kg) butter sculpture. In Minnesota, the winner of the Princess Kay of the Milky Way beauty pageant has her head carved in butter. Rock n’ Roll groupie Barbara “Butter Queen” Cope used butter as a lubricant. The Land O’ Lakes butter box is an image of a Native American woman holding an infinite image of herself holding a box of butter reflecting herself. The first butter sculpture was the bust of a woman made by a bored dairy maid. The history of butter is as fraught with genocide as it is feminism.
In German, butter is referred to as “die gute butter.” The good butter. There is no bad butter.