‘What do you taste like?’: Experiencing the other through the mouth

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Beginning with the notion that one cannot taste one’s own tongue, this article explores a number of contemporary performances that use food to consider the ways in which the self and Other are constituted in relation to taste. The article examines a number of dishes used in performance works by KILN, Zuppa Theatre Company, Companis and Winwood, Hamilton-Baker and Hughes’ Diabolical Roses. The article argues for the tongue as the site of an intimate encounter with the Other, examining the connections between eating, taste and sex. In section one, Experiencing the Other through the Food Object, I explore the ways in which ideas are constituted at the level of experience, working through a dish from Zuppa Theatre’s Pop-up Love Party, an adaptation of Plato’s Symposium. The second section, Experiencing the Other in the Food Object, looks at the constitution of the gendered Other in sexual acts, through an examination of a pasta vagina, raspberry breasts and salted-yogurt semen. The article finishes with the third section, Experiencing the Other as the Food Object, which explores mouth-to-mouth contact, mediated by the food object, as a means of conceiving the mutual constitution of self and Other. In dealing with issues around the Self and the Other, this article works through the structure of thesis, antithesis, synthesis: the Other as an experience of the Self, the tension in the binary of Self and Other, the resolution of mutual construction through the encounter of Self with Self, Other with Other. Through each of the food performances, the tongue and tasting are used as a key site of the Self and its encounter with, and experience of, the Other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-81
Number of pages7
JournalPerformance Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2018

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