Published on Friday, 17 May 2013 00:00
A man in Miami underwent liposuction and decided to keep his fat and turn it into soap.
Orestes De La Paz, a performance artist in Miami, Florida made 20 bars of soap from his own liposuctioned fat for his BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) thesis project, which he titled “Making Soap”.
This brings to mind the novel, Fight Club, written by Chuck Palahniuk which was subsequently adapted into a movie where 2 men started a soap business selling soap made from stolen liposuctioned fat to customers who are none the wiser.
After the cosmetic surgery that was done in December last year, Paz went home, grasping the precious biohazard bag containing his fatty essence. “I'm in the backseat of my mom's car, slowly going over the bumps of Bal Harbour, in the afterglow of anaesthesia, holding this bag with the possibilities of what I could do with this project overshadowing any feeling of fear,” Paz said.
During the healing process from the surgery, Paz got to work on turning his fat into soap. After much apprehension about messing up, Paz was thrilled when he was able to make it lather in his hands. "I wasn't going to go back and get more fat, I only had this one shot to experiment...to know that I made something that was useful and still artistic was astounding to me," he commented.
"The least savory part of the entire process is, I had to strain my own blood plasma from the fat before I boiled it for four hours," he spoke of his soap making procedure.
Soap can’t get any more organic than Paz’s soap can get. The suds consist of 25% performance artist, 30% organic vegetable shortening, 15% African shea butter, an ounce of lavender oil and an ounce of tea tree oil for an invigorating and calming aroma.
Making Soap is currently on display until May 19 at Miami’s Frost Museum, each bar of soap available for purchase at a whooping price of US$1,000.
"It was beautiful; we were selling rich women their own fat asses back to them." – Unnamed Protagonist, Fight Club.
The entire process of his liposuction and the soap making procedure had been recorded on video and cut into different segments to create a short film composed in a way that slowly envelopes the viewer. At the film's original screening, some people cringed, some made jokes and comments, and there were even rumours that some audience members were offended by it.
At the opening reception for Making Soap, attendees were able to experience an interactive performance where Paz washed their hands with his lipo soap.
Paz said that the attendees who came up to him to have their hands washed were completely at ease and they seemed to have forgotten that the soap was made from Paz’s former self.
"Intellectually it feels repulsive, but sensually it is very indulgent, almost luxurious, and you can see that experience when people wash their hands with the soap first and then watch the video and vice versa," Paz said.
Paz has extended an invitation to Lady Gaga to lather his fat all around herself.
“I'd love for Lady Gaga to wash herself on stage with my soap. I've always been seen in this grey area in performance art because sometimes I'm seen as too theatrical to be performance art, but then I'm too conceptual for a theater show. She's currently the link between performance art and visibility of that medium in pop culture,” he said.
Paz mentioned that he enjoys combining the worlds of art and beauty and is amazed at how “Clients are willing to try anything to feel and look beautiful, even to the extent of buying products with human elements in them (stem cells, placenta, semen; you name it, it's out there.)”
This is one dedicated albeit sick artist who really puts himself into his work.
Check out the video below if you would like to throw up in your mouth a little.