Courtesy Delfina Foundation

Dates: 8 – 11 September 2016
Times: Varied (see below)
Venue: Delfina Foundation
Donation: £3 per meal

Resident artists host a conceptual meal for everyone and anyone to join in for a £3 contribution. Each meal will be unique:

Thursday 18:00 – 20:00 | Tomas Uhnak: The Futurity of Locust Curry

“What a pleasant change from the labourer’s unvarying meal of bread, lard, and bacon, or bread and lard without bacon, or bread without lard or bacon, would be a good dish of fried cockchafers or grasshoppers.”
– Vincent M. Holt, Why not eat Insects? (1885)

A meal based on Vincent M. Holt’s 1885 manifesto Why not eat Insects? – a socially charged text that reflected the worsening deprivation of the working classes in the latter half of the nineteenth century. Holt proposed entomophagy (the eating of insects) as a free, highly nutritious way of sustaining and improving the diet of working people.

Today, it is the precariat, a new, not yet politically constituted class (as Guy Standing suggests) that occupies the position targeted by Holt in his manifesto. Taking these new conditions of poverty into consideration, this meal will recreate some of Holt’s recipies for the age of neoliberalism, and include a performative lecture by Uhnak, in addition to a talk via Skype from Gerardo Otero, Professor of International Studies and Sociology at Simon Fraser University. Professor Otero will speak on neoliberalism and diet today.

18:15 – Talk via Skype from Professor Gerardo Otero

18.45 – Guests are invited to do the final preparations of the meal together

19.00 – Dinner served

Friday 13:00 – 15:00 | Thomas Pausz: Dandelion Banquet

Due to restrictions of climate, growing fresh food in Iceland is a significant challenge, and the majority of food in the country is imported. Through his research, Thomas Pausz has started to develop potential alternatives that would allow people in Iceland to harness what is available to them in new ways.

This includes the full use of the dandelion, a common weed that is endemic in Iceland. In addition, Lupine is an invasive species, an imported weed taking over the landscape, which will be eaten here alongside Samphire – a possible future crop, promising because of its preference for salty grounds. Furthermore, each plant has multiple uses – dandelions can be used to make rubber and dyes, while Lupine can be harvested for fiber, soap, and many different culinary uses. Samphire also holds additional properties, producing both alternative soap and glass.

Saturday 13:00 – 15:00 | Forager Collective: The Myths of the Day and the Day After

This conceptual meal explores the myths and fantasies of consumer choice within neoliberal economies. While developing Manufacturing Purana, a study into the myths that are used to sell ideas and products in the market, Forager Collective has been looking into the importance of the ‘day after’. The day after a revolution, a referendum, or even a dinner party becomes important, which is when the repercussions of the night before need to be addressed.

The day after is the aftermath of the decision, not always positive but riddled with new problems – a dystopia where the likelihood is that promises will not be lived up to. The day after a choice has been made, you wake up to a world more closed – particularly true in today’s increasingly nationalistic and inward-looking political landscape.

For this meal you will be confronted with this precise ‘dystopia’: instead of the limitless array of choice provided by the free market you will be presented with a reversion to finite options. The contents of dishes are hidden and referred to by cryptic yet significant numbers.

Sunday 14:00 – 16:00 | Jane Levi: Foundling Sunday Lunch

Jane Levi presents a reimagined version of the children of the London Foundling Hospital’s Sunday lunch. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, after fashionable London had attended Sunday services in the Foundling Hospital chapel, they would follow the children into their dining rooms and watch them eat their Sunday dinner. The children ate in silence while groups of primarily upper-middle class people (often with their own children) would walk around the dining room and stand to ‘observe’ them. This peculiar practice continued for at least a century, a manifestation of ‘charitable’ feeding and a very particular kind of display marking social status through food.

The foundation of the Foundling Hospital by royal charter in 1739 was a major development in social philanthropy married with the arts and science. It was the first children’s charity and the first public art gallery, supported by numerous enlightened gentlemen like Dr Richard Mead, William Hogarth and Friedrich Handel. Infants who might otherwise have been abandoned were taken in, re-baptised and brought up with very specific care. Considering the detail of their nourishment and dining experiences from the earliest months through to adulthood gives an unusual and powerfully sensory insight into the lives and development of these children and how wider society perceived them.

Programme supporters

With thanks to Delfina’s patrons and partners, as well as those who have supported artist projects directly:

Acción Cultural Español (AC/E), Al Serkal Avenue, Arts Council England, Czech Centre London, Charles Wallace India Trust, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, Hybrid Platform Berlin, Icelandic Arts Fund, Icelandic Academy of The Arts, Inlaks Shivdasani Foundation, The Keir Foundation, Kingston University, The London Community Foundation, Nicoletta Fiorucci, Outset, Stanley Picker Gallery, Walton Family Foundation and Delfina Foundation’s family of individual supporters.