The Dinner of the Damned (Neo Futurist Dinner 16) – with Alice Héron and Martin Butler Laura Sanz Rosal

Where the damned come together

Getting to know Alice Héron and Martin Butler, an interview by Laura Sanz Rosal

Welcome to The Dinner of the Damned, a macabre feast where the dark souls come together.In this interview we introduce you to Alice Herón and Martin Butler, the multidisciplinary artists behind this experience at Mediamatic. 

Alice Herón is an artist and cook. She focuses on organic shapes and food as a medium to explore human’s relation towards the way nature is perceived. Martin Butler is an artist and stage director. His projects combine various artistic genres and explore the new dimensions that the combination of different disciplines generate. Martin and Alice produced in collaboration with I-Chen Zuffellato, The Sin Eaters experience at Mediamatic in 2022.


Dinner of the Damned team - Neo Futurist Dinner 'The Dinner of the Damned' is a Neo-Futurist Dinner created by director Martin Butler together with artist and chef Alice Héron. It revels in all things Gothic while delving deep into the depths of seasonal depression.   photo 2023 by Willem Velthoven for Mediamatic. Willem Velthoven

Q: Gastronomy emerged as a space to expand your creativity, how would you define the relationship between gastronomy and art in The Dinner of the Damned?

A: Our experiences are based on the five senses and I believe that gastronomy is just a reflection of them. Food is all those five senses, it is a wholesome sensorial experience. The Dinner of the Damned is a gothic adventure that includes each of our five senses. However, we should not forget that it is an inclusive experience that is going to allow everyone to participate and enjoy with us.


“An experience based on curiosity, a playfulness burden”

- Martin Butler


Q: In this dinner, guests can grow on a spiritual level, but can they also expect to acquire hands-on knowledge?

A: We are neither doctors nor therapists, but we believe that The Dinner of the Damned can have an educational vocation by making guests rethink their choices. We want it to be an experience based on curiosity, a playfulness burden. The Dinner of the Damned will take inspiration from different schools of herbal knowledge to include ingredients that positively affect your mood. 


Q: How are flavors related to emotions? Do you think that different emotions can connect  to different flavors?

A: We all associate differently, taste is something very personal. Textures and flavors provide us with different sensations that can potentially change the way we feel. From a medicinal point of view, (disclaimer again, we are not doctors), we can highlight how emotions can be manipulated through our diet. Certain herbs and foods have a clear benefit on our physical health and therefore on our emotions.


Q: What is the Black bile? Is it the same as what we currently understand by melancholy? 

A: The Black bile is something intrinsic to your body, whether we like it or not, it is like blood in a way, Alice comments. It is also one of the four temperaments that ancient Greek physician, surgeon and philosopher Galen of Pergamon described a long time ago. These temperaments can also be connected to the four seasons of the year, says Martin. Melancholy and autumn would be the equivalent to what we call the Black bile.


Q: How would you define a gothic flavor?

A: I think a gothic flavor would be definitely bittersweet, something that hurts a bit, but at the same time gives pleasure. Something indulgent and medicinal, a flavor we can explore and play with. Several people have forgotten about the original flavors. We can find the greatest example in the way we perceive a sweet or a bitter taste. Ultra-processed foods tend to focus on camouflaging the chemicals and avoid bitter taste, which is usually present in foods with medicinal properties.


“Something that hurts a bit, but at the same time gives pleasure”

- Alice Héron


Q: What is your position regarding modern alchemy and how can it be related to The Dinner of the Damned?

A: Modern alchemy is certainly an interesting topic that we can relate to The Dinner of the Damned experience. Alchemy revolves around the idea of metamorphosis, and so it does our project. Our goal is to provide our guests personal transformation and spiritual growth. 


Q: How would you describe in a short sentence the flavors of The Dinner of the Damned?

A: The Dinner of the Damned is a bittersweet lament.


Are you ready for the melancholic and gloomy atmosphere of the upcoming months of the year? Come to Mediamatic and find out... “You are going to be fed, healed and transformed”.