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This is Not a Hot Dog

This installation by The Arizona Cancer Evolution Center explores the iconic hot dog through the lens of cancer, food insecurity, and human behavior.

The title pays homage to the famous painting by Rene Magritte, “The Treachery of Images”—more commonly known as “This is Not a Pipe.” In this work, Magritte encouraged viewers to explore the difference between an object and the image of an object, playing with constructs of language and visual representation. We will follow Magritte’s lead, playing with the image of a hot dog and the many associations, words, and relationships that people have with this American icon.

The installation explores the multitude of meanings a simple food can have to a wide variety of eaters. Food is not just food; it represents myriad ideas that can be unpacked and investigated. Class, memory, health, disease, ritual, and family can all be explored through the hot dog.

Is the hot dog an emblem of Fourth of July picnics? Cancer? Food insecurity? Baseball?

This installation invites you to add your own thoughts and ideas. We want to know: what does a hot dog mean to you?

Zach Compton

Zach Compton received his undergraduate degree in genetics, cell, and developmental biology and is pursuing a doctorate in evolutionary biology. He is interested in all of the intersections that evolutionary theory makes with cancer biology, with a particular focus on the comparative oncology projects. He is currently studying the incidence and etiology of cancer in […]

Dr. Carlo Maley

Carlo C. Maley is the director of the Arizona Cancer and Evolution Center, the first president of the International Society for Evolution, Ecology, and Cancer, and co-founder and director of the Center for Evolution and Cancer at the University of California, San Francisco. He was a member of the advisory board of the National Evolutionary […]

Pamela Winfrey

Pamela Winfrey is the scientific research curator for the Arizona Cancer Center for Evolution and the Aktipis Cooperation and Conflict Lab, at Arizona State University. In this capacity she curates installations, residencies, and experiences, acting as a catalyst between artists and scientists. She is also an award-winning screenwriter, filmmaker, playwright, and novelist.

Dr. Athena Aktipis

Dr. Athena Aktipis is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Arizona State University and co-director of The Human Generosity Project. She studies cooperation across systems, from human sharing to cancer. She is also the chair of the Zombie Apocalypse Medicine Meeting and host of the podcast Zombified. To learn more about her […]