Stefan A. Rose
Media: Death By Chocolate

Project Description
Project Links
spOtlight Festival info
Newspaper Coverage
Sponsor Information

Project Description: Death By Chocolate

A Project to Celebrate Our Artists, June 6th-8th Weekend, 2008
Supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the Government of Ontario Ministry of Culture.

This is a participatory project undertaken by Waterloo photographers Andrew Wright and Stefan A. Rose, whereby participants stage their own deaths using chocolate syrup provided by the local Dairy Queen.

Using the Dairy Queen and its adjacent parking lot located a stone’s throw from their respective homes, Andrew and Stefan will provide Dairy Queen patrons the opportunity to don a white t-shirt, douse themselves in chocolate syrup, and…die for the camera.

This will provide an opportunity for participants to not only observe and interact with two professional photographers at work — to see the contrast of one using digital photographic cameras and the other using antique view cameras — but also for them to help create and direct the end result of this photographic foray: the images become the manifestations of individual imaginations. These images will then be displayed on a dedicated website where subjects can view their Hollywood-like staging.

Chocolate syrup was an effective surrogate for blood in black & white films, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho and black & white media will be used here as well to emphasize drama and the suspension of disbelief. American photographer Arthur Fellig, known popularly as ‘Weegee’, was both a crime scene photographer and keen observer of people and groups. Death By Chocolate is in some ways an homage to, and a combination of, these two practices…made sweet and tasty!

The Dairy Queen on King Street, Kitchener-Waterloo’s main thoroughfare, is popular and busy until 11pm on any given summer evening. Further, this is one of the few Dairy Queens that sits amidst a residential neighbourhood—most patrons arrive on foot. Parents and children alike can get messy and creative in this rare instance of Halloween in June.

Project Links (open in new windows)

Stefan's photographs are available in Photo - Death By Chocolate on this site.

A selection of Andrew Wright's Death By Chocolate images (opens in new window).

The video of Death By Chocolate. Run time: 1:01 (5.24Mb, opens in Apple QuickTime).

Information From spOtlight Festival Web Page:

Death By Chocolate
Presented by Stefan Rose and Andrew Wright. Stage your own Death by Chocolate. Visit the artists at Dairy Queen, set the stage, douse yourself in chocolate syrup, and let photographers Andrew Wright and Stefan Rose capture the moment for posterity. All pictures will be displayed on a dedicated website. and
Dairy Queen, 212 King Street South, Waterloo, ON
Fri: 8 pm–11 pm
Sat: 8 pm–11 pm All ages!
T-shirts will be provided.

La mort par le chocolat
Stefan Rose et Andrew Wright. Faites la mise en scène de votre propre Mort par le chocolat. Les artistes vous attendent chez Dairy Queen pour vous aider à préparer l'événement et à vous immerser dans le sirop chocolaté. Laissez ensuite les photographes Andrew Wright et Stefan Rose saisir le moment sur pellicule pour le faire passer à la postérité. Toutes les photos seront affichées sur un site Internet dédié à cet événement. et
Dairy Queen
212, rue King Sud, Waterloo, ON
Vendredi : 20 h à 23 h
Samedi : 20 h à 23 h
T-shirts fournis. Pour tous les âges!

Article from the Kitchener-Waterloo Record newspaper, Thursday June 5, 2008

A fun festival with blood (syrup) - arts - A fun festival with blood (syrup)

Amy Fuller

Turn off the TV.

A festival coming to the area this weekend offers more creative ways to spend your days off, including a chance to douse yourself in chocolate syrup.

The spOtlight festival will bring a flurry of arts events ranging from world music to sword fighting (plus the aforementioned chocolate dousing) to Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Stratford.

An array of local artists and organizations will showcase their wares at venues across the region.

How does drenching people with chocolate qualify as an artistic event? In concocting the project, Waterloo artists Stefan Rose and Andrew Wright drew inspiration from historic black and white films like Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho. Hitchcock used chocolate to simulate blood, and Rose and Wright plan to recreate his gooey technique at the Dairy Queen at 212 King St. S., in Waterloo.

Participants will don white t-shirts and apply the "blood" according to how they wish to stage their deaths. The artists will then take photos and post the resulting Hollywood-style images at

"It's a safe space for people to act out with their imagination and have that recorded," Rose says.

By involving participants in the artistic process, Death by Chocolate fulfils one of the main aims of spOtlight, which is to expose communities to the creative process that usually occurs behind studio doors.

Those averse to chocolate messiness can choose from more than 100 activities, including performances by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony and Canadian author John Steckley at Waterloo Regional Children's Museum. The museum will also launch a new exhibit celebrating the Canadian north.

And on the streets of downtown Cambridge, Vessna Perunovich will invite people to share hugs in a performance art event entitled I Hug the World and the World Hugs Me Back.

Harbinger Gallery and the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery host Celebrate our Artists in the spOtlight . Harbinger presents Jane Buyers, Chair of the Fine Arts Department at UW will speak about contemporary art on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The KW/AG will host special tours as well as Celebrate Our Young Artists exhibition, 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday followed by a performance by the Kitchener Waterloo Symphony.

Death By Chocolate was made possible by financial support from:

Ontario Arts Council logo Government of Ontario logo

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Copyright 2008 Stefan A. Rose. All rights reserved. Reproduction prohibited.