Artist Gabrielle Wood and Her Shocking Take on Cake [Video]

By Andrea Richard

Artist Gabrielle Wood seems to want her cake and eat it too. For the Miami performance artist eating cake represents a societal norm worth questioning. The sweet vice appears in her latest video installation series, Displaced Pleasure, where Wood is seen eating cake, initially seducing the viewer with her bedroom eyes and popping open the top buttons of her dress to reveal a black lacy bra. As the statuesque brunette continues to unbutton her dress, an orifice protrudes from her midriff. She feeds this orifice with the white and pink cake, skipping her mouth. The lens zooms in and the deformity is seen oozing icing, creating a cringe-worthy scene as Wood forks up more dessert.

A common reaction to seeing this video from the Displaced Pleasure series — the other one features a similar concept but with popcorn — is one of shock and disgust, and that’s okay with Wood. “I get a perverse satisfaction from watching people get disgusted, to get that visceral reaction from people,” she says on the video series she self directed. “Everyone has their vice. And I wanted to show both sides in these videos, savory and sweet.”

The creation of a new zone used to eat disrupts onlookers perceptions of beauty and erogenous body areas. Disruption and pleasure are a conceptual theme captured throughout Wood’s work, including her ceramic pieces, photography and performance art. Typically, Wood produces and directs her own video installations, keeping the act as intimate as possible.

Like many artists, she’s expanding her creative focus with a first-time live performance in her career, scheduled at the 2013 Miami Performance International Festival, running all of June and wrapping up this weekend. The festival, now in its second year, hosts an array of workshops, talks, and naturally performance art by artists hailing from around the world.

Wood spun her Displaced Pleasure cake-eating video concept and performed it live as Disruptive Pleasure Feed, at Edge Zone Projects in Miami Design District. At Edge Zone Projects, she invited the audience to watch her in a space enclosed with glass in the vien of a storefront, to feed her (well her orifice actually), adding an element of surprise and opening up her boundries like never before according to Wood.

Following the storyline in the video, she wore the same dress, unbuttoned it provocatively and kept her mouth closed, so the audience could feed her the way intended. If attendees wanted to keep away but still witness the action, they could remain behind the glass and observe, like window shopping.

For Wood the defining difference of her work whether live or taped is that: “The videos are more voyeuristic. Performing live is more about a connection being formed and addressing people’s inhibitions,” she says. “Who is brave enough to come up and interact with me?”