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Technologies of Eating: Constructing Experience

This article uses Heidegger’s notion of technology, as technē and logos, to explore how the everyday technologies of eating are always already grounded and framed. It uses the work of contemporary food artists, Bompas & Parr, and their project with Heinz, to explore the ways in which cutlery can be used as a technology of eating, to draw attention to the ways in which it is ideologically constructed, the ways it can reveal our everyday thinking and how it frames the food itself, providing a particular narrative of its production and consumption. The paper draws out how cutlery goes beyond a mere pragmatic understanding of utensils, as well as how the very notion of pragmatism is always already culturally and ideologically constructed.

We must observe two things with respect to the meaning of this word. One is that technē is the name not only for the activities and skills of the craftsman but also for the arts of the mind and fine arts. Technē belongs to the bringing-forth, to poiēsis; it is something poetic. The other thing that we should observe with regard to technē is even more important. From earliest times until Plato the word technē is linked with the word epistēmē. Both words are terms for knowing in the widest sense. They mean to be entirely at home in something, to understand and be expert in.

Heidegger, ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ 1927 1

Eating, in fact, serves not only to maintain the biological machinery of the body, but to make concrete one of the specific modes of relation between a person and the world, thus forming one of the fundamental landmarks in space-time.

De Certeau, The Practice of Everyday Life, 1998.2

Introduction

In ‘The Question Concerning Technology’, Martin Heidegger sought to explicate the workings of technology (technē), not merely as a means to a productive end, but as an artistic process in and of itself. For Heidegger, technology is more than the ‘production’ of things; it reveals or discloses our very relationships to things, it opens out the space for consideration of the artistic and the poetic. Technē, however, is only half of ‘technology’, so to understand Heidegger’s thinking, it must be combined with his understanding of ‘ology’ (Logos), as explored in his seminal Being and Time. (1927). For Heidegger, there is an intimate relationship between the workings of art and the workings of technology, in that each discloses to us ‘truth’ (alētheia). The ‘work’ of art and technology (work as both noun and verb) are the means by which we uncover the state of things, their meanings and their operations. Or, rather, the work of art is technological: the poetry (poiēsis) of bringing-forth, of uncovering or revealing truth, is an aspect of the workings of technology. To consider the technologies of eating allows for an exploration of how ‘everyday’ experience is constructed through (rather than mediated by) technology. For Heidegger, technology and art disclose the ‘truth’; while this dates Heidegger’s work, it does not negate its usefulness. The idea of an absolute truth is certainly controversial and it is not my aim to discuss that here. Rather, we can reread Heidegger’s alētheia as unconcealedness: not disclosing truth, but exposing the workings of things.

Appropriately to a discussion of Heidegger, given his use of ‘disclosure’, in David Letherbarrow’s ‘Table Talk’,(2004) he writes, “Whether seen as a reenactment or repetition, each lunch or supper both recalls and prompts others. The meal’s extended temporality complements its levels of disclosure, from tacit to outspoken.”3 Leatherbarrow draws out the performance qualities of the meal, pointing towards the ways in which performance is enacted in the everyday and implicitly stating how the reenactment and repetition of the practices of the meal (including its utensils) transforms the ideological into an everyday practice. Rather than merely conceiving of cutlery and crockery as pragmatic devices, we can go further and explore how it operates as a technology of disclosure: how it maintains and therefore reveals a certain ideological position and history. As has been seen in performance studies, repetition has the power not only to solidify and reproduce, but also to make strange, and so at the heart of the meal experience is the means of exposing its construction. This article proposes to explore how the everyday experience of eating is framed and constructed through its technologies, namely cutlery, triangulating Heidegger’s understanding of technology with the everyday practices of eating and the work of food artists, Bompas & Parr, in their project with Heinz, which can be seen not only as a repetition and reenactment of the ‘everyday’ workings of cutlery, but an exposing and unconcealment of that very working.

Bompas & Parr are two food artists, who began their culinary artistry through working with jelly in 2007. Since then, they have moved to other food-based projects, each playfully exploring the possibilities of food, its construction and its artistic potentiality. Bompas & Parr’s work has largely been connected to businesses and institutions, including Johnnie Walker, Guiness, Selfridges, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Kew Gardens and the Museum of Sex in New York. Their work has played with the different aesthetic qualities of food, focused on taste and smell, as well as design and construction.4 In 2013, in collaboration with Heinz and Fortnum & Mason, Bompas & Parr created the Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience, described by the artists as a “choreographed gustatory experience”.5 They developed five different tasting bowls for five different flavours of Heinz beans, including curry, fiery chilli, garlic and herbs, barbecue and cheddar cheese. Each of the bowls was designed to frame the food in a particular way, bringing the flavours together with the tactile sensations of the bowl and a spoon that emitted a particular soundtrack while eating. The barbecue bowl was burned to form an outer charcoal layer, accompanied by blues music and sizzling sounds; the garlic and herb bowl was surrounded by smoothed, layered card with the jostling sound of cans and the rustling of garlic; the curry bowl was less literal, with spikes forming legs for the bowl, covered in a grainy texture accompanied by Bhangra music; the cheddar cheese bowl was made from yellow wax, with the same smooth yet slightly tacky texture, with the sound of strings and tambourines; and finally the fiery chilli bowl featured smoothed-off, metal, triangular spikes and the sounds of chopping and scraping.

Dezeen Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience By Bompas And Parr Ss 5

Heinz Beans Flavour Experience, 

[from left to right] Barbecue, Garlic and Herbs, Curry, Cheddar Cheese and Fiery Chilli.

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Pask.

In Henri Lefebvre’s Critique of Everyday Life,(1961) he marks out the importance of understanding the ‘everyday’. He writes that the ‘everyday’ is,6

[…] the region where man [sic] appropriates not so much external nature but his own nature - as a zone of demarcation and junction between the uncontrolled sector and the controlled sector of life - and as a region where goods come into confrontation with needs which have more or less been transformed into desires.

For Lefebvre, the everyday is the intersection of the ideological-hegemonic and individual freedom, choice and creativity. It is the site where the ideological is transformed into the human. Using Heidegger, we can explore how art and technology intervene in this relationship and expose the construction of the everyday, the ways in which the ideological dimension is transformed into everyday practices. As noted by de Certeau et al in the epigraph to this article, food and eating form a key landmark for the individual, both between the self and the World and between the individual and the ideological. It is a site where discourses intersect, where histories, practices and narratives overlap, requiring a negotiation on the part of the diner. The everyday, the conventional or the status quo becomes second nature, allowing use without reflection, but the everyday has the potential to be ‘de-second-natured’.7 I argue that Bompas & Parr’s project with Heinz intervenes into the everyday, revealing aspects of the conventional use of cutlery, de-second-naturing the easy and stable relationship between theorisation and use, enacting a critique of the everyday. However, Bompas & Parr, while opening out space for the consideration of the grounding assumptions that underpin the ideological operations of the everyday, reframe experience within a particular Capitalist discourse of consumption. Heidegger’s technē and Logos are used as tools to explore cutlery as a technology and, coupled with Slavoj Žižek’s writings on ideology, allow for an explication of the framing of the everyday: how each frame brings certain ideas and practices into focus and the change of the frame, while exposing what was perhaps previously outside, sets up a new series of exclusions

Technē

In its historical links with epistēmē, with knowing, technology reveals the ways in which we think and know. Underpinning all technology is inevitably a set of assumptions about the workings of the world and the self. All technology is inevitably grounded by epistemological foundations, both in understanding the workings of the technology itself and in how the technology explicates the workings of the world. In the ‘everyday’, this fundamental, epistemological grounding (indeed, the ontological is always already subsumed within the epistemological, as it is about what we know Being to be) is often hidden away, covered over within the conventional practice of everyday life. It is often framed as pragmatism or common sense, as though it were based on a fundamentally unshakeable set of principles with which there can be no argument. For Heidegger, the concept of the ‘ready-to-hand’, the tool that can be used without theorisation or contemplation, exemplifies this attitude of pragmatism. There is a continuity between ideology (in the widest sense) and the practice of the object, enacted and repeated to the point of second nature. 

The use of a spoon for the consumption of each of the dishes designed by Bompas & Parr operates, to begin with, as the ready-to-hand, framing the food and suggesting the mode of consumption. In terms of pragmatism, it could be said that a spoon is used for liquid food because it allows it to be scooped easily into the mouth. However, underlying this are other cultural assumptions and practices that mark out the spoon as ‘pragmatic’. The spoon allows for a dish to be eaten in a particular way and at a particular speed. In the first instance, social codes of decorum and acceptability in contemporary Western culture suggest that there needs to be a mediator between the bowl and the mouth that is not just the hand; the hand is too primitive and to slurp directly from the bowl would suggest, perhaps, an appetite that is too close to the primitive body and should not be displayed openly, in public. In the second instance, in terms of the temporality of the food, there is an understanding that the food ought to be eaten within a particular time frame. If the food is eaten slower, over a longer time, it begins to push at the temporal edges of what is considered edible. In Claude Lévi-Strauss’ The Raw and the Cooked,(1969) he drew out the cultural construction of the processes of transformation in food, the practices that take food from ‘raw’ to ‘cooked’ to ‘rotten’.8.

The cultural construction of the edible is part of this broader understanding of the edibility of food. There are not distinct categories of ‘raw’ and ‘cooked’. The spoon allows the food to be eaten in the temporal window at the peak of its supposed edibility. It is an attempt, to eat within a few minutes, to stabilise the food object, to act ‘as if’ it were a static object, thereby ignoring its disintegration into the ‘rotten’ (whether eaten or not). The ready-to-hand cutlery contains within it this set of assumptions about the food itself and the social practices in which it is contextualised. The spoon allows us to move liquid food to the mouth in a ‘timely’ manner, before it changes temperature; a knife allows us to cut only while the food is firm enough to be cut (before it rots); a fork allows us to pick up foods only if they are cooked to the ‘proper’ degree (too firm, the fork cannot penetrate, too soft, it will not stay on the fork.

In Slavoj Žižek’s The Sublime Object of Ideology, (2008) he explores notions of desire, enjoyment and meaning in relation to the Object using Lacanian psychoanalysis, Hegelian philosophy and Marxist theory. In discussing the operation and enactment of ideology,9 he writes

What we call ‘social reality’ is in the last resort an ethical construction; it is supported by a certain as if (we act as if we believe in the almightiness of bureaucracy, as if the President incarnates the Will of the People, as if the Party expresses the objective interest of the working class…). As soon as the belief (which, let us remind ourselves again, is definitely not to be conceived at a ‘psychological’ level: it is embodied, materialized, in the effective functioning of the social field) is lost, the very texture of the social field disintegrates.

In other words, our very social reality is nothing but an ideological and cultural construction, which is not to say that it masks over reality but that it is the very means by which we are integrated into sociality and by which we are able to make sense. It is not that ideology covers over the ‘real’; rather, it is the very ways in which we interact with materiality. Žižek is not discussing the explicit ideology of political systems (Communism, Totalitarianism, etc.); instead, he is writing about the broader ideological construction of the everyday, of which nothing escapes. In this way, we can investigate the smallest act or object of the ‘everyday’ in light of its cultural, social or historical construction, in order to explicate how it functions and the unspoken ideology that maintains it and allows it to be comprehensible and usable. However, while this ideology is often practiced ‘as if ‘it were a coherent system, there is always an anomaly, something already at work in the work, which threatens to disrupt its coherence and its use. There is a direct parallel that can be drawn here to Heidegger’s notions of the ready-to-hand and the present-at-hand, whereby the latter is the distanced relationship to the object, where its utility and being are called into question. In other words, the present-at-hand works from the position of the anomaly, that which breaks through the ‘easy’ and stable usage of the object and draws attention to its status as ‘object’. It is the notion of the ready-to-hand that is implicit in the ‘silent workings’ of utensils, when they need no explication in order to function. While Bompas & Parr make use of the spoon as ready-to-hand, they also interrupt the ‘silence’ of the technologies of eating through the Heinz bowls, by drawing attention to those very technologies that go unnoticed.

In his writing on technology (technē), Heidegger discusses the notion of ‘enframing’. For Heidegger, enframing is a way of conceptualising the ways in which technology is incorporated into experience in a continuous way (similar to Žižek’s notion of ideology). Heidegger’s term, Ge-stell, the German for ‘enframing’, also makes implicit reference to the word stellen, meaning ‘to set’, which Heidegger traces through Her-und Dar-stellen, meaning to produce and present.10 In this notion of Ge-stell, then, are ideas of the frame, setting, producing and presenting. The connection to cutlery might already seem apparent. In English, we speak of ‘setting the table’, of the process of presenting food. Once again going beyond the ‘pragmatic’ interpretation, where things are placed only for their utility, we can consider the way the table is ‘set’ as the enframing of the food. In other words, the cutlery and crockery on the ‘set’ table form both the literal and metaphorical frame for the food. In the everyday and conventional mode of setting the table, the cutlery arrives first and literally forms a frame in front of us, marking off where the food is to be placed; the small section of the shared, public table that becomes private, for myself and my experience. It marks off the area that is to be the arena or stage for the food that is to come. It also reveals what the food is likely to be and how we are to experience it (whether it is a standard knife and fork, a steak knife, a fish knife, a soup spoon, a dessert spoon, etc.). The food is always already framed before it is presented, encoded with cultural meanings and practices.

Bompas & Parr’s Heinz project can be read as this very framing of experience, implicitly drawing attention to the very act of framing itself and they ways in which it creates the experience and meaning. The cutlery frames the food in a particular way in order to encourage a certain reading of it. The barbecue bowl, with its accompanying blues music, is an attempt to reinforce a particular reading or understanding of the flavour experience. The blues music, which Bompas & Parr describe as a “cultural reference to the Deep South”, plays into a cultural stereotype of beans with the American hobo and the dry heat so often associated with that clichéd image. This is done in order to intensify the flavours and to contextualise the dish, as belief in the associations, acting‘as if’ they were ‘real’, gives them an affective power in phenomenal experience. However, while the dish is framed in this way to intensify the appreciation of particular aspects of the food, the cultural cliché that is implicitly invoked begins to break apart, intervening in an ‘easy’ reading of the food, as elements that do not fit within this frame also begin to be foregrounded (i.e. not eating the dish in the ‘Deep South’ of America, the other stereotypes and cultural associations of the barbecue for an Anglophone diner, including the ‘Australian on the beach’ and the wet English summer, the multi-faceted history of blues music and its developments etc.). The frame itself begins to break apart and in so doing, what was designed as a coherent, ready-to-hand experience becomes a problematic one that begins to de-second-nature the continuity of the experience with its frame. The frame itself is called into question.

In this work by Bompas & Parr, we can see how the technological and the artistic converge in the way that Heidegger described. The artistic ‘product’ intervenes into the everyday and begins to uncover the way in which the everyday operates. It is here that we find the poiēsis of technē. The connections between the senses, operating within the framing grounding assumptions about both the perception of flavour (that it is intensified through cross-sensory references) and the cultural construction of the identity of food (the associations between barbecue and the ‘Deep South’, as well as the other cultural associations that break apart the explicit frame), becomes where the artwork works (an ‘art of the mind’?). But it also demonstrates how those connections are forged and reinforced ‘through’ the artwork. There is an interesting parallel with the work of the Italian Futurists, in particular the work of Marinetti in The Futurist Cookbook (1932). The Futurists set a historical, artistic precedent for this kind of approach to, and understanding of, food, flavour and sensation as an artwork. In ‘The Manifesto of Futurist Cooking’, where Marinetti set out the artistic and political aims of the Futurist food project, he called for “The abolition of the knife and fork for eating food sculptures, which can give preludial tactile pleasure.”11 In the script for the ‘Tactile Dinner Party’, set out in The Futurist Cookbook, the artist Fillìa called for a series of shapes, rough surfaces and sprays to be encountered by the diner as they ate, to destabilise an easy reading of the food being consumed.12 The Futurists sought to intervene between the senses, to introduce seemingly incongruous sensations to the food, as part of their wider project to (re)create the Modernist body. Viewing Bompas & Parr’s work through the lens of the Futurists’ food practice brings forth a number of things. Firstly, the Futurists saw the body as a mechanical technology in its own right; in the same way, we can think of the body as technology in the ways in which it combines different sensory inputs. Secondly, in their attempt to forge the Modern(ist) body, the Futurists brought together incongruous sensations, thereby revealing how the artwork can bring together seemingly disparate things in a new way, to (re-i/)enforce a new construction of understanding, but also, by implication, revealing that previous associations between the senses/sensations are equally constructed, i.e. not intrinsic to either the food or the body.

Logos

[Logos]  gets 'translated' (and this means that it is always getting interpreted) as "reason",  "judgment", “concept", "definition", "ground", or “relationship”. […Logos] as  "discourse"      means […]: to make manifest what one is 'talking about' in one's discourse. The [logos] lets something be seen […].

For Heidegger, the logos ‘makes manifest in one’s discourse what one is talking about’. This is, of course, potentially problematic after post-structuralist critiques of the inherent meaning in language. There is no intrinsic meaning to text, only a series of citations that make language iterable within a horizon of meaning. However, we can make use of Heidegger in thinking about (artistic and everyday) practice. In this regard, the logos is the folding in of content into form. For technology, it is the ways in which the technē manifests itself in technology, the way it speaks about and reveals itself in its own work. Technē reveals its own ground, assumptions and relationships in its own work. It becomes its own discourse, its own logos, its own frame of understanding, as well as working as a challenge to other modes of framing.

Bompas & Parr’s work is grounded in an understanding of perception that is multisensory. Their work relies on this underpinning assumption that the senses combine in experience to produce experience. The Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience draws attention to their understanding of multisensory perception, drawing attention to it. In his writing on logos in Being and Time, Heidegger discusses the notion of synthesis:14

Here "synthesis" does not mean a binding and linking together of representations, a manipulation of psychical occurrences where the 'problem' arises of how these bindings, as something inside, agree with something physical outside. […It] means letting something be seen in its togetherness [Beisammen] with something—letting it be seen as something.

The logos is not merely the bringing-together of disparate things under a single discourse; rather, as with Žižek’s ideology, it is the underlying principle that allows the discourse itself to emerge from the togetherness of things. The process of revealing that it is at work in Bompas & Parr’s bowls is at once both a disclosure and a covering over of the continuity between the senses in perception. The bowl draws attention to, discloses, the ways in which we make sense through the combination of sensory perceptions and their related associations, allowing a meaning to come forth. However, it also attempts to cover over the discontinuities between the senses, the places where they do not easily sit alongside one another, where they are wrenched apart. While the curry bowl seems to work easily, with the grainy texture on the outside of the bowl, coupled with the sound of Bhangra music, drawing attention to the spices and their historic association with India, the cheddar cheese bowl is less successful in its intention to intensify a singular experience.

Bompas & Parr describe the cheddar cheese bowl as,15

[…] based on the form, texture and colour of a tractional round of cheese. The soundtrack has been constructed from a cheese wire playing the melody and percussion from tambourines and Heinz Flavoured Beanz cans, creating a very English sounding string composition reminiscent of Elgar or Holst

The cultural associations and connections between the various elements of this experience are less securely tied together in the conventional horizon of meaning. There are elements of the production (the use of a cheese wire, the particular brand of can, the reading of the music as ‘reminiscent of Elgar or Holst’) that are not explicitly within the work, but only bare that signification for the artist. This is not to deride the work itself, although there is an argument to be made around the commercialisation of the work (which I will return to), but rather draws out how the signification of the work for the artists is not the same as the work itself. The work begins to pull itself apart by virtue of the artists’ reading not being formally present in the work itself. The logos that holds the dish together is not a synthesis, whereby the elements are combined under a wider cultural discourse, but is an idiosyncratic reading that leaves the dish unstable to the uninformed reader.

In Lefebvre’s Critique,16 he writes,

Every word, every gesture constitutes an act, and acts must be understood according to their purpose, their results, and not merely in terms of the person speaking and acting, as though he could somehow express of ‘externalize’ his reality and sincerity. More exactly, words and gestures express an action, and not simply some ready-made ‘internal reality’.

In other words, conventional biography is not enough to understand the operations of either the everyday or the artistic work. The artists’ intention is not enough to produce an understanding of the work; the understanding must also explore the external action of the workings of the work. The cheese bowl does not operate only in the way that the artists conceive, as a unified experience, but rather operates in the in between spaces opened up between the sensory stimuli. There is a deferral of meaning that takes place in the work, where each sensory element gains its meanings in its interrelations with the others. For Bompas & Parr, the idea of ‘cheddar cheese’ is enough to hold the dish together. For the uninitiated consumer, the ground on which the work rests is not this unifying concept, but rather the ways in which the different senses speak to one another, and with one another, to create an experience that refers to itself, to its multiple parts. In this way, even the aspects of the work that might be considered ‘static objects’ (the bowl, the spoon), begin to unravel, to unfold in time and to become unstable. The bowl sits somewhere between touch, sight and smell; the spoon between touch, sight and sound. Neither is a static object that can be ‘understood’ in its entirety in an instant. It takes on a temporal quality and begins to reveal, by drawing attention to the multiple sensory strands, the ways that meaning oscillates between the senses and is constructed in that in between space. The technology at work here uncovers the epistemic temporality of knowledge, through the artwork, referring to itself in displacing the absolute location of meaning, dispersing it across itself.

The in between state of the work, caught in a temporal unfolding, requires a frame in order to be made sense of. The dish not only troubles the everyday, conventional understanding of the immediacy of perception, but also draws itself together again through a foundational assumption of the multisensory appreciation of eating. The technology of eating (the devices by which we present and consume food) operate as an oscillation between technē and logos, shifting back and forth between the exposing of epistemology and its construction respectively. However, while these bowls by Bompas & Parr explore this individual experience of consumption, they also cover over the processes and economics of production and consumption within which they are produced and consumed.

In Leda Cooks’ article, ‘You Are What You (Don’t) Eat’, she mirrors de Certeau et al in discussing how food is a politically loaded site of intersecting discourses. 17 She writes,

Because food is an absolute necessity in a commodity-driven market, it serves as a central and tangible trace of the dominant ordering of social relations.[…] As the means of producing food and the value assigned to its production are increasingly split off from consumption, food becomes less and less about its substance and the relation of that substance to subsistence, and becomes more available for signification. In a saturated capitalist economy that signification must be controlled by market forces precisely because of its importance to everyday life.

In Bompas & Parr’s bowls, the artists draw attention to particular aspects of the production and consumption of the food. The barbecue bowl draws attention to the process of cooking; the garlic and herb bowl makes reference to ‘raw’ garlic (through the papery garlic-like-skins around the outside); the curry and cheese bowls to ingredients (and not their production before this stage); and the fiery chilli bowl to the assumed sensation of the sharpness of chilli heat in consumption. No one of the bowls makes reference to capitalist framing of the food as a mass-produced product, nor any mode of production that sits within this (the cultivation of agriculture, the factories in which the products are transformed and tinned, the shipping and selling of the product). Bompas & Parr, not necessarily knowingly, enter into the discourse of ‘localism’, where the importance of food is in its locale and its connection to the land, and not to the capitalist processes of production, which remain hidden. Indeed, the company Heinz, begins to distance itself from its own modes of production in its product, via its mediation through the artists Bompas & Parr and the particular store that stocked this work (Fortnum & Mason). In the same way that Daniel Spoerri sold cans of food in a gallery to expose the celebrity culture of the artist and the signature as the mark of the artistic status18 (following in the lineage of Duchamp), Bompas & Parr are the artists whose signature, which pervades the packaging and consumption of the food-work, legitimates the work as a work and masks over the mass-consumption and commercialisation of experience. While the framing of the bowls may work through various aspects of the process of consumption and appreciation, it also leaves out of frame the political and economic dimension of the everyday.


Conclusion

The technologies of eating are not merely pragmatic. Or, rather, the pragmatism of those technologies is ideologically and culturally constructed. When we consider a utensil solely in terms of its pragmatism, we are in the realm of the ready-to-hand, where ideology is at its most successful because we do not question, even implicitly, the role of the tool, how and why it should be used. The technologies of eating not only allow us to consume, but they also frame our experience of eating both in terms of how we eat and how we understand the experience. It is not that the framing of the food is merely layered onto and around it, but that the frame itself enters into the experience and provides the coordinates for our understanding. The technologies of eat - cutlery, crockery, utensils - are so often ‘silent’ in that they fade away from our attention and become a ‘means to an end’. But, through the use of Heidegger’s technology (as the combination of technē and logos), the framing ideology and fundamental assumptions of the work of art can be uncovered, as well as (re)created. Bompas & Parr’s work exposes certain aspects of production and consumption, by both implicitly and explicitly drawing attention to it in the act of eating. However, it also masks over other aspects of that process, namely the commercialisation of food within a capitalist economy. Their work does demonstrate that the food object, when framed in a particular way through its utensils, can act as a philosophical intervention into the everyday. As a site of intersecting discourses, and by virtue of its necessary connection to the continuation of the everyday, food and its consumption is a politically and economically loaded nodal point, which has the potential to take apart its own ideological construction. As technē, the Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience reveals the ways in which (self-)knowledge in experience can be constructed and how artworks can utilise, undermine and reinforce the cultural associations and contexts within which they sit. As logos, the project has the ability to construct its own ground, its own horizon of meaning. For Heidegger, the artwork and technology have the ability (indeed, for him, the necessity) to uncover the workings of things; this is not to say that a single, material truth can be found in the uncovering, but rather that the very constructedness of the ground of the everyday is always already framed, always already able to be exposed.

End Notes

Go to footnote reference 1.

Heidegger, M. ‘The Question Concerning Technology’ in Basic Writings: from Being and Time (1927) to The Task of Thinking (1964), Edited by David Farrell Krell, London and New York: Routledge, 2011, p.222

Go to footnote reference 2.

de Certeau,M.,  Giard, L. and Mayol, P. The Practice of Everyday Life, Volume 2: Living and Cooking, new revised and augmented edition, edited by Luce Giard, Translated by Timothy J. Tomasik, Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press,1998, p.183

Go to footnote reference 3.




Leatherbarrow, D. ‘Table Talk’ in Jamie Horwitz and Paulette Singley (ed) Eating Architecture, Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press 2004, p.213
Go to footnote reference 4.

See ‘Bompas & Parr: Projects’ at http://bompasandparr.com/projects (2015)

Go to footnote reference 5.

Bompas & Parr, ‘Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience’ http://bompasandparr.com/projects/view/heinz-beanz-flavour-experience 2015

Go to footnote reference 6.

Lefebvre, H. Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 2: Foundations for a Sociology of the Everyday, (1961) Translated by John Moore in Critique of Everyday Life: The One-Volume Edition, 2014, London and New York: Verso, p.340

Go to footnote reference 7.

To use Simon Jones term: “ de-second-naturing [...].True discontinuity, the actually felt interruption of out-standing standing-within is felt asboth a mood of de-naturing and an instant when-where one’s self is forced out of its self, interested in (in the sense of esse/being inter/between) the world.”Jones, S. ‘Not Citizens, But Persons: The Ethics in Action of Performance’s Intimate Work’, in Chatzichristodoulou, M. and Zerihan, R. (ed) Intimacy Across Visceral and Digital Performance. Basingstoke and London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, pp.36-37.

Go to footnote reference 8.

Lévi-Strauss, C. The Raw and the Cooked: Introduction to a Science of Mythology: 1, Translated by John and Doreen Weightman, New York and Evanston: Harper and Row, 1969, p.1

Go to footnote reference 9.

Žižek, S. The Sublime Object of Ideology. London and New York: Verso, 2008, p.34.

Go to footnote reference 10.

Heidegger, 2011, p.227

Go to footnote reference 11.

Marinetti, F. T. The Futurist Cookbook, (1932) Translated by Suzanne Brill, edited by Lesley Chamberlain 2014, London: Penguin Books, p.38

Go to footnote reference 12.

Marinetti, p.170

Go to footnote reference 13.

Heidegger, M. Being and Time, translated by John Macquarrie and Edward Robinson Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1962, pp.55-56.

Go to footnote reference 14.

Heidegger, 1962, p.56

Go to footnote reference 15.

Bompas & Parr, ‘Heinz Beanz Flavour Experience’. [Online] http://bompasandparr.com/projects/view/heinz-beanz-flavour-experience 

Go to footnote reference 16.

Lefebvre, H. Critique of Everyday Life, Volume 1:Introduction, Translated by John Moore in Critique of Everyday Life: The One-Volume Edition. London and New York: Verso, 2008, p.155.

Go to footnote reference 17.

Cooks, L. ‘You Are What You (Don’t) Eat? Food, Identity, and Resistance’ in Text and Performance Quarterly, 29:4, 94-110 Routledge pp.95-96

Go to footnote reference 18.

See Novero, C. Anti-Diets of the Avant-Garde: From Futurist Cooking to Eat Art. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010, p.175.

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Paul Geary

Dr. Paul Geary is a Teaching Fellow in Drama at the University of Birmingham. His PhD was completed at the University of Bristol and explored techno-emotional cuisine in relation to the history of food and the senses in performance practice, exploring the restaurant as a site of multi-sensory performance. Paul is currently expanding his doctoral work in a book entitled The Food Event, which is examining the work at the Michelin-starred restaurants The Fat Duck, elBulli, Noma and Alinea. Paul’s research centres on the senses in performance, performance philosophy and documentation and he has worked as a freelance performance documenter.