Interior Semiotics

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Interior Semiotics
Artist Natacha Stolz (Gabbi Colette)
Year 2010
Type Performance art
Location FOREVER(21), West Town, Chicago

Interior Semiotics was a 2010 performance by Natacha Stolz (also known as Gabbi Colette)[1] at FOREVER(21), an apartment gallery event in West Town, Chicago.[2][3] The performance was videotaped and uploaded to YouTube, where it went viral after being posted on 4chan, then got over 2 million views.[4][1]


In the eight-minute piece, the performer spent two and a half minutes opening a can of SpaghettiOs. She then poured the can into a pan and added water (there is dirt in the mixture as well), while reciting a nihilistic poem ("Dirt is all around us, everything is shit. We apply meaning, value, and worth to the shit surrounding us. We live by this meaning, and by our words, we live by worth, and apply value, but, everything is shit"[5]). This was followed by her rubbing the SpaghettiOs on her shirt while reciting the poem in reverse, cutting open her leggings, and inserting her SpaghettiO-covered fingers into her vagina. The performance was ended with her urinating into the empty can of SpaghettiOs (though one author notes a discrepancy among the observers and says it was tomato soup and not urine[5]) and taking off her shirt to wipe the remains of her performance.[6]

The work was intended as an homage to Carolee Schneemann's Interior Scroll.[7] In an interview with Rhizome, Stolz commented on the performance:

What happened was I started thinking about alphabet soup and how I used to eat it all the time as a kid. And I was thinking about what sort of meaning is contained in alphabet soup, in that material. It’s this incredibly processed, condensed consumer product. I thought that was kind of similar to how we process language and how we use words; how we just kind of consume what’s given to us, what’s pre-processed, and just digest that. I really like Carolee Schneemann's Interior Scroll and I like how the structure of that piece is mirrored in the text that she reads. I wanted to create a piece like that, where the text mimics the overall structure. The poem I read is supposed to be really simple; it’s a simple text that repeats itself, and it’s meant to be a flat, everyday thing. But I wanted there to be a final reveal, like in Interior Scroll.[2]


Critics have remarked on the hipster audience as well, whose faces (some amused, some shocked) are scanned by the camera during the performance. Olivier Tesquet, writing for the French Slate, described them as "petrified young people, so caricatured that they appear to come out of a Larry Clark film edited by David Lynch".[8]

The video was uploaded to YouTube but failed to attract much attention until it was posted on 4chan, which was followed by a viral reaction to the video, with most of the comments being negative and many of them consisted of rants against what was perceived as contemporary art, and the hipster audience that attended the performance.[7][9]


  1. ^ a b "Interior Semiotics". YouTube. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Blogrolls, Trolls, and Interior Scrolls: A Conversation with Natacha Stolz". Rhizome. Retrieved 12 January 2013. Last spring, Natacha Stolz, a performance artist and a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, performed a piece called Interior Semiotics at an apartment gallery in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. 
  3. ^ Stryker, Cole (2011). Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web. Overlook Hardcover. ISBN 9781468300598. 
  4. ^ Kuennen, Joel. "Interior Semiotics". ArtSlant. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Stryker, Cole (2011). Epic Win for Anonymous: How 4chan's Army Conquered the Web. Penguin. p. 257. ISBN 9781590207383. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Quaranta, Domenico. "Internet Semiotics". Art Pulse Magazine. Retrieved 12 January 2013. In the eight minute video, the artist opens a can of SpaghettiO's, pours its content into a pan, and adds water while reciting a nihilistic poem. Then, she mutters her poem backwards while rubbing the SpaghettiO’s onto her shirt, cuts open her denim leggings, and puts her dirty fingers into her vagina. Finally, she urinates into the empty can of SpaghettiO’s and takes off her shirt, using it to wipe up the mess. 
  7. ^ a b Smith, Russell (1 December 2010). "Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Ho: a viral perfect storm". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  8. ^ Tesquet, Olivier (21 November 2010). "Pister le hipster". Slate (in French). Retrieved 9 February 2013. 
  9. ^ Smith, Russell. "Uh-oh, Spaghetti-Ho: a viral perfect storm". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 14 May 2014. 

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