Thus I Swallowed Down (Hinabgeschluckt)

Thus I swallowed down took the competing and conjoined messages of the front and back covers to the Sunday New York Times Magazine as its subject. Above, Toyoji Tomita appeared in a video that was viewed by visitors through a peephole in a wall. Visitors stepped into the role of voyeur. Behind the wall was a darkened room in which performers repeated the word “hinabgeschluchkt” to experience the fullness of Nietzsche’s word in the mouth, the word replacing food, and a comment on the double-speak of journalism.    Back...

About the work

For his 1888 poem The Desert Grows: Woe to Him Who Harbours Deserts, Friedrich Nietzsche coined the word hinabgeschluckt, or “swallowed down” (trans. R. J. Hollingdale, Dithyrambs of Dionysus, Black Swan Books, 1984). The antithetical covers of the Sunday New York Times Magazine, were not accidentally conjoined. They were created by a designer as a single board or digital file, and printed to spread across a single piece of paper. The front cover purports to bring us startling news and images of the dire consequences of the prolonged drought in Somalia: a malnourished, tense and suffering child faces the parched earth, his back protected from an unrelenting sun. The ominous wheelbarrow can be seen either as devoid of produce from the fields or goods that might relieve the child's suffering, suggesting that there is no hope, or it could be interpreted as transport that will take the child to his grave. The horror conveyed by the photograph is heightened by the appearance of individuals in the background who appear to be going on their way, oblivious to the child's urgent needs. The back cover, a perfume ad for Bloomingdale’s, cruelly flips the message of a child’s suffering with the alluring promise of living well and enjoying a paradise on earth. A robust, healthy man is relaxed and idle because he is nurtured rather than harmed by the elements, his face to the sun, his back immersed in the deep pleasure of shallow waters that promise to be cool (not cold) and sweet smelling. How many of the over 1.5 million Sunday Magazines ended up casually mislaid with their two covers spread out to reveal the lack of responsibility of capitalist journalism itself to the human condition?


  • Installation: Jerry Carniglia and Margaret Fisher
  • Video: Margaret Fisher
  • Performer, video: Toyoji Tomita
  • Performers, live: Beverlee Blair, Jerry Carniglia, Jocelyne Danchick, Joe Doyle, Margaret Fisher, Danille Font, Joanna Harris, Janet Jacobsen, A. Robin Orden, Taro Saito, Gemma Shusterman, Brenda Stine, Ron Vincent

Performance History

  • Installed: Emeryville Art Exhibiton, 4052 Watts Street, Emeryville, October 1993.