JOUR 18

A LITTLE DEATH

This project is a meditative performance using four intimately crafted dining tools made for a four course dessert menu. In this performance, the viewer watches me eat as I use the tools. Based on the knowledge  of Master and Johnson’s human sexual response, the performance aims to enhance our eating experience while challenging the taboo associations between food, sex, and women’s pleasure. A Little Death explores the gendered position of women in relation to food, and reverses the convention of women providing food for others to enjoy, and places her at the centre of the eating experience, while embracing her sexuality and pleasure at the same time. 

Excitement: The Finger Tools are a set of stainless steel utensils to experience and debate the pleasures of restriction in both food and sex through the struggle of eating by hand. Restriction is a common practice used in sexual activity to induce excitement, such as breathplay. Can the same philosophy be applied to our restrictive utensils or does it hinder our pleasure in eating? Finger Tools questions the need for external utensils, rooted in the internal battle of some multicultural people: hand vs utensil. It seems to be a shame not to put the millions of nerve endings on our fingers to contribution.

Plateau: The Licking Bowl is a ceramic dish made for the tongue that questions dining etiquette, assumptions of the tongue, and the role tongue gestures in food and sex. Why is it considered inappropriate to lick a bowl clean (an act often associated with childlike exuberance)? Perhaps it is our high opinion on dishware. It is time to shift the attention from the dish to the tongue. Just as plateau is often mistaken for female orgasms, the tongue is often mistaken for the most sensitive part of our eating experience. Yes, the tongue is responsible for reading salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami, but there is much more to enjoy.

Orgasm: The Breathing Pipe is a glass meditative inhaling tool that allows for intensified pleasure during the short yet intense olfactory phase. In this involuntary moment your food is pushed to the back of your throat where the strongest taste receptors live, while your nasal passage opens to reveal the aroma of the food. Without smell, there would be no taste. Similar to an orgasm, this very short moment is when you get the most amplification, in this case of taste.

Resolution: The Listening Serviette is a reflective end to the experience, as you pull your focus to listen to the last phase of eating through a contact mic: the swallow. When we eat, our sense of hearing receives the least amount of attention, yet many cultures have a strong preference about it. Some prefer to stay as quiet as possible and try not to slurp, while others embrace sounds as they welcome loud burps. Resolution is a natural and involuntary phase after a sexual experience, and is as important as all the other phases. The Listening Serviette reminds ourselves to focus and enjoy the sounds our body makes, without disturbing others - no matter how ugly they may be.