Final Meals is a community-based performance, event, and video installation. Each final meal requested by Texas death row inmates and published online by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice since 1982 is prepared, consumed, and filmed. To date, Lucky Pierre has re-created 197 of the 310 final meals published by the State of Texas.
Lucky Pierre and volunteers from the community cook the final meal to recreate as faithfully as possible the original request. Then, alone in a quiet room, a volunteer is videotaped eating the meal, creating a singular, solitary and contemplative performance for one.
The recorded video is a single 25-minute overhead black and white shot. The performer’s face remains unseen. The food and the body are the focus in this final gesture to bodily maintenance and comfort.
At the conclusion of each filming, Lucky Pierre and project volunteers join together to screen selections from the archived final meals and to eat a shared meal. This time not alone in silence, but in the civic space of the communal dining table.
The public presentation of the video archive focuses on the intimate act of eating within the monumental scope of the project—the 310 meals and 150 hours of video.
Final Meals is created by: Holly Abney, Travis Hale, Kerry Hayes, Kevin Kaempf, Jeff Kowalkowski, Heather Lindahl, Tyler B. Myers, Bill Talsma, Michael Thomas, and Mary Zerkel.
Final Meals has been filmed and presented at: Gallery 400, Hull House Museum, Uri-Eichen Gallery, St. Francis House (Chicago), Testsite (Austin), Contemporary Art Museum Houston (Houston), Tufts University Art Gallery (Boston) Entretempo (Berlin), Grand Arts (Kansas City), Luminary (St. Louis), Soo Visual Arts Center (Minneapolis), Kunstlerhaus Mousonturm (Frankfurt), Kunsthaus Graz (Graz), Detroit Contemporary (Detroit) c3:initiative & Open Engagement (Portland).