Bouts of hunger can leave many of us desperate, eating everything in sight, including our own bones. Eerily echoing the infamous Donner Party, a Norwegian artist decided to fulfill a self-serving art project by eating his own hip. Twenty-five-year-old Alexander Selvik Wengshoel, born with a hip deformity, received a metal hip replacement after years of failed operations, which often left him in a wheelchair or on crutches. Consuming his own hip, he says, became a kind of catharsis for enduring all the pain since he was 3 months old.
"The hipbone had been such a problem for me for over 20 years, and it was just a way of making it better again," Wengshoel told The Local. "It had been so hard to have it in my body, and when I took it out, it turned into something else, something romantic. It was a natural process I felt I had to do to move on." His decision to eat his own hip first came off as a “whim” but then turned into an occasion that became a “nice moment,” with just he and his hip bone, while his girlfriend was at work.
The unusual “meal” also consisted of potato gratin with a glass of wine. “It had this flavour of wild sheep, if you take a sheep that goes in the mountains and eats mushrooms. It was goaty,” he said. Wengshoel admits there wasn’t enough meat left on the bone after the operation, so it didn't constitute an actual meal.
The artist admits experiencing surgery at such a young age, at 3 months old, did "something to him in the long-term.” When he received his metal hip replacement at age 21, Wengshoel felt a sense of relief and accomplishment that he wanted to turn into art. Typically, during a hip replacement, the surgeon removes the damaged sections of the hip joint and replaces them with parts usually constructed of metal and very hard plastic, according to the Mayo Clinic. The prosthesis aims to reduce pain and improve function to complete daily activities.
The conceptual artist, who was doing a foundation course in Olso at the time, spent a year trying to convince doctors to let him film his hip replacement operation, and then keep the bone, The Mirror reported. Wengshoel's pleads were successful, as his hip consuming came “really naturally.” Now, as an art student at Tromsø, Wengshoel admits his art project has gotten “different reactions” at his college. He is one of six undergraduate students displaying work at a graduation exhibition in Tromsø, titled “No Guts, No Galaxy.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) May 26, 2014
Speculation on whether the daring art student ate his own hip is up for debate. When asked by The Local if this whole story is a hoax, Wengshoel answered, "It's true.” He refused to justify himself any more than that. “The story is the story. Either you believe it and we can start a discussion and talk about it, or you do not believe. It's not up to me to make people believe it. I'm just saying it.”