The Netherlands eating artist Marije Vogelzang has been a great source of inspiration for me since I discovered the Eat Art movement, six years ago. From the discovery of her beautifully-designed and carefully thought-out book Eat Love (BIS publishers, 2009) to her views on how to creatively approach human eating and relationship with each other through the act of eating, I was amazed by their implied revolutions, and how close they were from my points of view. Many of her performances are in my mind since then, and created new questions I wanted to answer in turn.
Here is a combination of her participative Budapest event, where gypsy women were feeding blindly some visitor while narrating their own personal story, and her Christmas designed party table, where people share part of food with each other. And her idea of long spoons.
I wanted to created a meal where it is impossible to ignore the person in front of you nor to concentrated only on your own plate because your ustensiles are so long they can only feed the person in front of you.
This meal was set up as a breakfast, a homey sweet menu I love to cook. Pies, pancakes, eggs, cheeses, scramble tofu or eggs, cookies, dates, pain doré, smoothies, teas, ... It was a banquet planned for 20 people. We ended up to be 13 people sat at 3 different levels of a table. These friends and family helped with the last preparation of food and the making of the long utensils: forks, butter knives, spoons and serving utensils. I originally intended to design them in one material, but there was a great test run in terms of distances between eaters and length/strength effect for its users.
The meal lasted longer than a usual brunch because the ritual was slower: each person was feeding the person in front of them, might it be a stranger for them who sat there randomly or someone they already knew through me.
The rhythm of eating, to vocalise your dishes choices, to pay attention to the mouth and face of the person you are feeding and is feeding you, the eye contact, the little reflex of organising the plate and cleaning it, laughter at comical situations, bites sizes, calling and sharing dishes: everyone took a greater consciousness of what they were intaking. And all were more conscious on when they felt full.
The whole group helped me clean up while talking to their new friends.