Reflection on Digestion: The Mouth 2013
Friday 1 November 2013
Part of On Innards Mindy Lee, Andrew Hladky, and Amanda Couch at 'Body Horror 2' Conference, organised by Inter-disciplinary.net at The Royal Olympic Hotel, Athens, from 1-3 November 2013.
Photography by Mindy Lee
Reflection on Digestion: The Mouth is a participatory performance – a fragment of a longer work – reflects on the process and image of digestion through food and language. A glass of Ouzo and a smoked tongue are served alongside the presentation of a text in which artistic, philosophical, historical, and physiological narratives converge to explore how we cognitively and bodily digest knowledge and experience, and how we incorporate our sense of self. Together, participants and host literally and metaphorically ruminate on the processes of ingestion, digestion, and subjectivity, and on embodied ways of knowing.
Body horror arises in many forms in this performance piece. The body part of a once living, eating, sentient being confront participant diners; the monstrous tongue of an ox which, with its glistening taste buds, is vividly similar to our own. But a sense of horror might arise even more vividly from the destabilisation of the self this meal prompts: when I eat the insides of another being, where does the ‘I’ end, and the other begin? As the process of digestion continues my innards hope to absorb and incorporate parts of what used to be other, parts which in their turn used to absorb what was other to them. Our digestive systems open us up to the outside and to continual processes of purging and renewal. Reflecting on digestion makes us re-imagine our enclosed bodies and self-contained egos as temporary, open and in flux, always part other.
Reflection on Digestion: The Mouth will be published in an e-book of papers from the conference, which will be out next year. Details to follow.