EAT MY SHORTSshorts in a ziplock bag / 180 x 227 mm / set of 10 / 2016
it is, of course, a complex response, not intended to be “appreciated” in any strict sense of that term. in the context of the concept of “participatory democracy” i do however appreciate this:
“The phrase is a clever piece of American pop culture humor, popularized by The Simpsons (TV series). It is basically meaningless, a taunt of rejection by a child who is trying to be tough, rebellious, or vulgar but who is too innocent and young to know how. Instead of saying something truly nasty, the worst thing he can think of is his shorts because they’re worn around his groin. Indirectly, it’s a joke about the medium of broadcast TV itself, where at the time you were not allowed to use any bad language.”
as with any item inserted into an artistic and/or anti-artistic situation, your shorts in a plastic bag will have an immediate, contemporary context (the what is participatory democracy? mail art call and the proposed exhibit in roanoke), a contemporary global context in which the phrase what is participatory democracy? must have several significant (and significantly different) meanings, a history of each (and all) of those contemporary contexts, and a history of the phrase itself:
“Nancy Cartwright says Bart’s “Eat my shorts!” outburst “was an ad-lib” at a table read early in the life of the series. “I don’t know — it just occurred to me,”
Cartwright explains that “Eat my shorts” was something she and her high school marching band cohorts occasionally chanted when they were goofing around. It stuck in her mind, it got a big laugh from the writers, and a catchphrase was born.”
the phrase clearly deserves more attention, more research and exegesis. i will attempt to make time for this and get back to you with any useful and pertinent results.