[Warning: Graphic images ahead]
On March 6, a Facebook Live feed streamed from a museum in Riga, Latvia sparked outrage and controversy through its depiction of a man and woman seemingly cannibalizing themselves in the name of art.
The video documents a real-time exhibition titled Eschatology by Latvian artist Arturs Berzinš (who can be seen standing offstage to the right), in which male and female volunteers allow a surgically-masked person in a Tyvek suit to slice what appears to be small pieces of flesh from their backs with a scalpel. Physical reactions from the two subjects suggest the procedure is not only real, but being performed without anesthetic.
The subjects then watch and wait as those same chunks of “meat” are placed in a pan and fried. After the fleshy strips sizzle for a while, the masked surgeon/chef invites the subjects to stand up and approach… then removes the cooked meat and feeds it to them.
The deliberately shocking performance disturbed so many viewers that the event was brought to the attention of local police — who are still investigating the incident to determine if the subjects were actually eating their own flayed flesh, or if the stunt was just a well-staged bit of fakery.
The female subject is wearing a shirt and wig, so it’s possible these could have concealed a prosthetic back appliance… but as the male is shirtless with a shaved head, it would take expert FX mastery to fake his procedure.
If you’re brave enough, take a look for yourself and see if you can tell whether the “flesh” being consumed is real, or the result of very convincing practical makeup effects… here’s a recording of the main event: