Bell, C E. (2011). Cooking up crimes and maternal misdemeanours: From food ritual to transgressive performances. Double Dialogues,(15), 1-16. Australia: Double Dialogues.
The use of food as a medium in my performances has developed to reinforce my position on the role of the artist as a social commentator and ethnographer of social customs. This sentiment is shared by artist Susan Hiller when she states, ‘I believe art can function as a critique of existing culture and a locus where futures not otherwise possible can begin to shape themselves’ (Lippard 1996, p.xiii). The ritual of cooking acts as a substitute for the artistic outcome signifies a shift away from my earlier focus on the production of art objects to ephemeral works that comment on process and action in real time. Baking for private and public performances is an activity that connects the artist, audience, and community, moving the concentration away from a solitary, studio-based practice to an interactive, public ceremony. The food performances generate a complex ritual. They are conducted in the spirit of food happenings created by members of the Fluxus movement who ‘demonstrate how an individual action and a collective ritual might extend and perpetuate into larger social configurations — those values and practices shared by the individual artists’ (Stiles 1993, p.93). The practices of artists associated with this group, constituted an ideology that recognises art’s capacity to acknowledge the processes of life as a strategy for revealing the function of human behaviour. These attitudes were disseminated by artists like Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier, Eric Andersen, Philip Corner, Alison Knowles and Valie Export whose food related performances capture the ethos of the Fluxus movement, ‘to redirect the use of materials and human ability into socially constructive purposes’ (Stiles 1993 p.67). This article will argue that staged food rituals, act as an entry point for discussion about urgent female social issues.
School of Arts
Open Access Journal Article