Projects and collaborations: meal, method and meaning.
All living beings are energy and thus need energy to survive. Food is an aspect within the foundation; the building material for building and maintaining the body. The production of food and food itself are concrete realities often taken for granted, they demonstrate inherent connectedness as they relate directly to our bodies and to our energetic complexities. An awareness of this connection is an awareness that the nature and quality of what we fuel ourselves with directly impacts us; on a physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual level. Where are we being nourished? Where are we poisoning ourselves? Methods of cultivation matter, they aren’t static or narrow processes, but reflect equally a method of producing and exchanging knowledge, of constructing and framing a world.
A performative lunch: deconstructing our habits around the table.
Deconstructing our eating habits around the table? What does this mean? Often times a shared meal, although sociably exciting, creates a situation in which we become passive consumers. That is to say the social aspect of gathering takes precedence over the act of eating. When engaged in dialogue or entertainment it is easy to lose sight of the mechanics involved which promote for instance proper digestion. We lose connection to the innate and subtle voice of the body; unable to hear or feel when we have had too much. Influenced by monastic eating practices and Ayurvedic understandings, we proposed a performative lunch as an open question to the regenerative community. What is true abundance? Do our communal and collective habits truly support the individual? Are we eating for pleasure, or are we eating for the integrity of our being? Can we find balance between both?
Three courses, prepared directly on the table, no plates or cutlery, just hands to ground, connect and promote a change in eating duration. Starting with a dessert of fruits and herbs, we wanted to shift the perception around menu organisation in relation to healthy digestion. Ayurvedic knowledge tells us that fruits should be consumed well before any other meal. Why is this? Fruits are generally the easiest food item to digest with high fibre and high natural sugar content. However, when mixed within a meal, or consumed after a meal, fermentation arises within the stomach, lending to bloating and indigestion. The second course, a small glass of kombucha, a liquid meal full of probiotics that assist in digestion but also help us to maintain a healthy appetite. Playing with expectations through scale, material quality and quantity, we asked: what determines fullness and fulfilment? How much of the feeling of fullness actually comes from a visual correspondence?
For the third and final course we laid a landscape in real time of edible dirt and vegetables prepared in various ways. The performative gesture of slowly building a plate for 20 individuals, was a gesture that demanded patience.
Through this action, our hope was to open the diner up to a certain awareness around their personal impulses and the impulses of those whom they shared with.
During this offering, we noticed a split within the group: Beings who were in observance, who waited patiently to receive the full meal, were quiet in their mannerisms; and those who spoke through the duration of the preparation, ate their plate in stages and thus never received the completed dish. Those who waited and watched with attention ate their meal with the same attention, delicacy and slowness in which they observed. Those who were more social became passive in their consumption and although they enjoyed in the pleasure of eating, in away they missed the point completely.
Slowing down, taking the time to reflect in the moment the nature of our hunger, it’s an important task we can all make in given time. So often we are only concerned with the flavour or the material quality of what we consume, but rarely question the method and the timing within that consumption. Most of these habits we develop are culturally implied or have a cultural grounding. However, the spirit needs different kinds of fulfilment, sociability is a part of that need, but sometimes in shared silence there is a place where we can truly be nourished.
Cosmic Tart Workshop
A workshop held under the umbrella of Cosmic Tarts; a practice created 4 years ago around the new and full moon of every month. In this practice the tart functions as a mandala, a method for exploring non-permanence, non-attachment, image construction/destruction, inner process and digestion. The basis of the collaboration/workshop was to give tools and techniques to the participants so that they may feel confident to continue on their own if they so wish. We felt into the material, symbolic and aesthetic qualities of available food items and how they could support a deeper process.
As a means to find a common theme we started with the game exquisite corpse, using language and words in exchange for image. Our dialogue varied, set in paradox and contradiction, yet inclusive to themes of transformation, love, union, cycles and transmission. Building upon the language we constructed an image, a process that forced us to think through and feel through our decisions as we made them; the whats, the why and the how’s. All the while trying to maintain and allow for the creative agency for each individual.
A beautiful collaboration, three beings, three pairs of hands, three voices, coming together to create this wheel of love, shared and digested alone/together.