If you’ve paid a visit to Pomona College Museum of Art recently, you might have noticed something different. It’s subtle at first– black bits of plastic and metal on the floor, the smell of cucumber mint and creme brulee. As you make your way through the halls, sometimes stopping to closely observe one of Mickalene Thomas’s large, textured portraits, you begin to hear it. Bang. Bang. Grunt. Bang. Is it your neighbor from freshman year? No. The destruction of the heteropatriarchal capitalist system? You wish. Your mom emphatically slamming kitchen cabinets after an argument? Good guess! But it’s even better. As you enter the tête-à-tête exhibition room, you see Eli Scott (PO 2020), a hammer in his right hand and a dented Juul on the floor in front of him. He brings the hammer down with a grunt, and the pod splinters, mango-flavored juice leaking onto the polished hardwood.
“The piece is really about like, overcoming addiction. With my generation, you know, my bros are always sucking on Juuls all the time. And I used to be that way too. Man, I even slept with it underneath my balls, because I always wanted to know that it was safe, and I’m also totally fixated on my balls. But I decided it’s time for a new era in my life, and I really wanted other people to have the same opportunity. It started with my own Juul, but now it’s become this whole crazy movement. People are giving me $70 to smash their Juuls,” says Eli.
The performance piece is called fuk a juul. And it looks like it’s here to stay, at least for a while.
“Every time we try to kick him out, he unzips his pants and pulls only his balls out, so his balls are just there. Like only his balls, not the penis. And that’s really unsettling. The one time we actually managed to get him to leave, he got a bunch of his friends to come in with their balls out. So we kind of don’t have a choice,” says museum employee Deborah Burns.
When we asked Eli if he plans to continue with performance art, he asked, “wait, what’s performance art? Is that like dance?” We’re excited to see what else he has in store.