I’m in recovery mode after performing my final piece for Massey Fine Arts year 3.

Videos and pictures will follow in future posts but I thought I ought to write while still feeling the ill effects of my work. I performed a stereotypical version of New Zealand manhood. In one hour I consumed as much Tui beer as I could. I managed 8 full cans. If I was to boast about this you would be receiving a clear message as to how men in New Zealand often measure their strength.

I was wearing a paper mache Bambi head (adult Bambi, not baby Bambi). I sucked the beer through a straw protruding out of Bambi’s cute smiling snout.

I painted my body in a typical two tone Disney pattern. I was wearing a Fred Dagg/Wal Footrot black farming singlet, jeans and tramping boots.

I felt ridiculous throughout and ridiculous afterward. Being drunk at University at 1pm felt uncool. I’ve experienced many stories from my male friends about doing similar things, drunken stupid things. The desired response to these tales is a ‘good on ya mate’ and we all laugh. As men its cool to boast about these acts. It’s a sign of prestige. When I describe this project to my friends, making sure to explain how drunk I got at Art School in the middle of the day, I will probably get applause.

By dressing up as this clownish Kiwi Bambi hybrid, I intended to parody and overplay the bravado of New Zealand booze culture among young men. Well, parody is actually a weak word. I intended to ridicule it, by ridiculing myself, by doing it. By showing it to be a superficial, immature performance. A fake persona. Tui, because of its stupid and immature advertising, seemed the logical brew to consume.

How do I feel now? I feel I acted with honesty, stripping back the layers of why I feel drinking to huge excess is a narrow minded lack of self respect, and certainly not the only, singular or correct way New Zealand men can entertain themselves. I felt I exposed the sadness of such a desperate performance of manliness. I felt like it was worth taking a step in another direction, to assert a stance on New Zealand masculinity against the grain.

I feel tired, slow, sick and useless.

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