SMU-in-London: Arts 2013

Students in the SMU-in-London: Arts spend five weeks in the city, becoming 21st-century explorers while taking two courses. Associate Theatre Professor Gretchen Smith in the Meadows School of the Arts teaches London theatre history from the era of Shakespeare to the present, while Dance Professor Shelley Berg teaches about London as a metropolis filled with myriad “performance” experiences – cultural, social, historical and political. The students have visited museums, palaces, food markets, theatres (for “formal performances” and backstage tours) and participated in multiple “scavenger hunts,” and walked and walked and walked!

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Indulging the Performative at the Borough Market, London

Andrea, Traci, and Lexi created a PowerPoint for their final project in London about how food can be performative through many senses to create an understood language similar to their dance performances. The students used the Borough Market in London as the setting for their extravagant, sensory food adventure.

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Food As: Performanceborough market

“Food, and all that is associated with it, is already larger than life. It is already highly charged with meaning and affect it is

…ALIVE

…FUGITIVE

…SENSORY”

 

Food As: A Strong Visdessertual Effect

This opulent display of desserts attracted customers from across the market. Each dessert paid particular attention to detail—whether it was in the scripting of letters, the geometric cutting of each slice, or the swirling and sculptural topping of the meringue.

 

 

visual language

Emblems Used as Visual Language

This tea vendor used emblems by hanging flags that were indicative of Bengali culture, which is where Darjeeling Tea is from. These flags provided context clues regarding what was being sold and where the product was grown.

 

 

Food As: Visual Excevisual excessss

As Kirshenblatt-Gimblett says, “the eyes play a critical role in stimulating appetite.” When looking at this display, the eyes definitely are bigger than the stomach, which makes you want to buy more than you can eat.

Excess is defined as an amount that is beyond what is normal or sufficient. When looking at this display of British pies, that word immediately comes to mind. There were over ten different flavors—ranging from wild boar to chicken and apple — and it was very likely that were not going to sell them all that day. However, the visual effect of this outrageous number of pies attracted everyone passing by.

 

Food As: Performance Artperformance art

The exotic nature of drinking wheat grass was portrayed through the showing-doing of the juicing process. All other smoothies were made behind the counter, but the performance of making these grass shots was highlighted and framed for those passing by.

This demonstration can be equated to Kirshenblatt-Gimblett’s concept of a “display kitchen.” According to her, the key to this form of culinary performance is “the exhibition value of labor that has been staged in a transparent workspace.” Since the work going into this drink was visible to the buyer, the experience of watching it be made was more valuable than the product itself.

 

sensory performanceFood As: Sensory Performance

Olfactory, the fish had a strong smell of the ocean that provided a sense of ‘authenticity’ and freshness. Visually, it was displayed in creative ways, such as a big fish with its mouth open wide with a small shrimp inside. Auditory, the yelling of the workers behind the counter emulated the atmosphere of fishermen coming in from a day at sea, ready to reel in their catch and sell their fish.

 

Food As: Showing-Doingshowing-doing

The butcher was clinging the knives together and changing his knife according to which section of meat he was cutting. As people passed by, he made eye contact with them and gave with a slight smile, indicating he was putting on a show as he cut the meat. He was aware of being observed, and he was showing-doing to attract potential customers through his art of cutting meat.

 

 

 

display

Incorporation of Additional Elements into the Display

The background information of the tea increased the value and integrity of the company selling the tea. By including the poster board and photos of natives picking the plants, this vendor seemed it add ‘authenticity’ to the purchase because it showed the country of origin and the organic nature in which it was grown.

 

 

 

Artisanal Food You Can Sampleartisanal

Artisan food embodies creativity and uses fresh ingredients for the satisfaction of the customer. This tortelloni used fresh pumpkin, which is not a typical ingredient for pasta fillings. The uniqueness and fresh preparation of the tortelloni classified it as artisan food that highlighted the craftsmanship and artistry of the preparer.

 

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