At Mediamatic ETEN, Margherita Soldati and Alice Héron’s collaboration focuses on our need for connectivity. As well, it questions the various avenues in defining hunger. Their work, Skin Hunger, challenges our guests to “let-go.” We can interpret Soldati and Héron’s treatment as an intimate performance. This breakfast guides participants into a sensorial experience of taste and touch. Between the blend of touch and bite-sized food, we can assess several definitions of hunger. Furthermore, we start to appreciate the value of human contact.
The experience of Skin Hunger is special for several reasons. In this blog, I want to highlight the key-concept and core ideas of the artists. Alice Héron details how she and Soldati found a way for ‘food and touch’ to complement each other. In her own words, Héron wants to examine the meaning of a breakfast, and how it can be playful:
“What is cutlery if someone is feeding you? Can breadsticks be playful? We want to explore if there is a limit to the contact.” – Héron
For the first half of the breakfast experience, the participants are blind-folded. The inability to see, forces participants to activate their other senses. In comparison, this experience is like a spoon-fed child: they learn about new tastes, but are unaware of what is in their mouths. Visually, the experience of eating a pancake might be tasty, but not strongly stimulating. Our focus changes with a blind-fold and someone else feeding you.
In addition, the use of touch reminds us of the value of human interactions. The act of eating is no longer mechanical and rushed. Instead, their breakfast creates a meditative and thoughtful space. It is an exercise of relaxation, and to acknowledge your body’s reactions while eating. Both food and the act of touch compliment and mimic each other — whether it is cutlery made of bread, or a string of tomatoes representing the human posture.