Aaron Tilley's Thin Skinned is an evocative and slightly unsettling short depicting foods with delicate skins undergoing various torments. It's kind of sensual and kind of disturbing at once.
"I looked at foods that have delicate skins and treated them as human 'surfaces,'" says London-based image-maker Aaron Tilley, who collaborated with set designer Kerry Hughes and food stylist Lucy-Ruth Hathaway to depict food substances as if they were human flesh. Speaking of his weird and wonderful approach to filming food, Tilley explains: "I used actions that disturb human bodies—such as pinching, pricking, and grazing—and applied these to the skins of food. Hopefully, the resulting imagery is slightly uneasy to watch, and might make the viewer wince a little!'
It put me in mind of Julia Kristeva's brilliant Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection:
Food loathing is perhaps the most elementary and most archaic form of abjection. When the eyes see or the lips touch that skin on the surface of milk—harmless, thin as a sheet of cigarette paper, pitiful as a nail paring—I experience a gagging sensation and, still farther down, spasms in the stomach, the belly; and all the organs shrivel up the body, provoke tears and bile, increase heartbeat, cause forehead and hands to perspire. Along with sight-clouding dizziness, nausea makes me balk at that milk cream, separates me from the mother and father who proffer it. "I" want none of that element, sign of their desire; "I" do not want to listen, "I" do not assimilate it, "I" expel it. But since the food is not an "other" for "me," who am only in their desire, I expel myself, I spit myself out, I abject myself within the same motion through which "I" claim to establish myself. That detail, perhaps an insignificant one, but one that they ferret out, emphasize, evaluate, that trifle turns me inside out, guts sprawling; it is thus that they see that "I" am in the process of becoming an other at the expense of my own death, During that course in which "I" become, I give birth to myself amid the violence of sobs, of vomit. Mute protest of the symptom, shattering violence of a convulsion that, to be sure, is inscribed in a symbolic system, but in which, without either wanting or being able to become integrated in order to answer to it, it reacts, it abreacts. It abjects.