In his performance piece Blood is the Only Good Adhesive in Heaven (2001), Sxip Shirey assembles pavement fragments chiseled from sidewalks around New York City that are covered with the calcified, blackish-purple remains of chewing gum. Shirey explains that each remnant of gum we find on the street contains not only the genetic residue of its former owner but also that of dinosaurs, especially since most commercial chewing gums are manufactured using petroleum byproducts. In the act of gum chewing, Shirey says, the DNA encoded in our saliva intermingles with the remains of prehistoric beasts. The surfaces of the city, it seems, are covered in the collective DNA of dinosaurs as well as our friends, celebrities, anonymous flâneurs, and those long since departed, now stamped forever into cement exteriors, beneath school desks, and the underside of theater seats. To prove his point, the artist takes some gum collected from a sidewalk in Astoria, places it in his mouth, chews it methodically, and in a meditative trance narrates the life experience of its previous owner.
Cabinet Magazine Issue 11