Reflection on Digestion: A Performance Dinner 2016

Reflection on Digestion: A Performance Dinner 2016


14 April 2016, 7.30pm

LIBRARY, 112 St. Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4BD

Photography: Catinca Malaimare

Duration: 3 hours



Reflection on Digestion: A Performance Dinner for LIBRARY is a participatory performance in the form of a six-course meal and lecture, which explores the material, process and metaphor of digestion through food, and language. The event has been fashioned especially for the unique space and metaphor of LIBRARY, and the menu, devised and created in collaboration with LIBRARY’s new resident chef, Gavin Lambert.


Participant diners will be served courses, or chapters, of dishes made from offal of the digestive system; tongue, tripe, liver, sausage. There will be an alcoholic apéritif to begin, and a playful dessert, with tea and coffee to conclude. Each chapter is guided by the reading of a script, performed by Couch, collaged from a variety of sources: artistic, philosophical, historical and physiological, which converge to explore how we cognitively and bodily digest food, knowledge and experience, and fashion our sense of self.


For the most part, the participant diners will eat in silence, and listen to the reading, whilst ruminating on their own direct experience of eating, and the ideas and sensations that ensue. For example, diners will concentrate on gastric juices as they are triggered by a bitter apéritif, contemplate what thoughts and bodily sensations occur when they eat the stomach of another, and reflect on the medieval corporeality of the book and the library.


The piece embodies an experiential approach to knowledge creation by placing the participant diner, their senses and body at the centre of the exploration of our ‘visceral knowledge’, the 'knowledge experienced in as well as knowledge of the interior of the body’. Participants literally and metaphorically chew over on the processes of ingestion, digestion, subjectivity, and on embodied ways of knowing.

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