Monday, April 7, 2014

How to Eat an Oreo

Instructions: Create a piece using food as subject matter..."food for thought". Involve the body. You may present this piece live or as a video piece. Collaboration is encouraged, but is not mandatory. You may perform this at the Live Art Night. Time length: under 3 minutes.

For this project, I was inspired by Yves Klein's Anthropometries of the Blue Period (how the models "painted" how they wanted), Yoko Ono's Cut Piece (how audience members cut her clothes in different ways), and Marina Abramovic's The Onion (how she ate an onion differently, like an apple).

I created a video of myself sitting down at a table, which I had set up with a plate of three stacked Oreos, a glass of milk, and a fork and knife. I proceeded to eat each Oreo in a different way, and then walk away. For the performance, I had my audience draw a piece of paper, randomly from my hands. Two of the pieces of paper said, "As soon as everyone has a piece of paper, walk up to the tables in the front of the room, and eat the Oreos in any way you like". The rest of the pieces of paper said, "Please remain seated". As the two, randomly selected, audience members walked up to the two tables, each set up with a plate of three Oreos, a glass of milk, and a fork and knife, I played the video on the screen behind them (I didn't want the two participants to be influenced by the way I ate).

My intention for this performance, was to reveal how different people are. I thought about how differently people eat their food, especially Oreos, and how this would be a good metaphor for my intention. My two classmates that participated in the act certainly showed very different ways to eat an Oreo. For example, Zoe'e graded one with her knife into her glass of milk, and Eve gobbled them up, using her utensils. It was really interesting to watch the three of us eat in different ways. While utensils are not needed to eat an Oreo, everyone used them in some way or another. My intention for this aspect of the performance was to comment on formal practices in the dining room. Some people are raised to eat very properly, while others are not, depending on their social background.

This performance brought up a lot more conversation that I had anticipated, which was really interesting. Because I implemented Oreos, American culture became a big topic. A lot of people believe that there is a specific way to eat an Oreo, as seen by commercials on TV. This cultural phenomenon also alludes to conformity. Cookies, or Oreos, are very round and multiply like clones. They all look the same. In society, people are expected to conform to whatever is accepted. However, I think that it is good to be different, and break away from conformity, and eat Oreos however you want!

If I were to repeat this performance, I like the idea of having a whole bunch of TV's stacked together against a wall, each showing a different person eating Oreos. It would be a great visual. If only I had the time to collect a lot of TV's!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed this piece, although I found the video combined with the live performance overwhelming. I think ultimately the live performance was more engaging. I don't know if you want to focus on the simple act of eating an oreo, or if you want to build the piece into something more complex. Either would work with me. If you want to do a video/performance have you ever thought of hosting an all american dinner? Where each course serves "all american" food? Just a thought, nice work!