Can we use feeding as a universal language?

The Feed Love workshop has been a developing project.

I have been thinking about the act of feeding for a couple of years before I eventually started a project with it. I was thinking about feeding and about how everybody is being fed in some stage of their life. It is a very basic and at the same time very sensitive activity. It comes with a mental power balance between feeder and feedee. After all, you need to trust and allow someone to enter your body both physically with their fingers or a spoon and biologically, with food that will penetrate your body from the inside.

I’m not really sure why I was captivated by feeding. Perhaps because I have breastfed and spoon-fed 3 children and found a profound surrendering between the two in this act. I remember I was breastfeeding my son and my mother came to visit me. I do not remember her feeding me as a baby but of course she has. Now I was feeding my son and while I was doing that she picked up a spoon and fed me my breakfast which I hadn’t have time to eat yet. That was a peculiar moment. It felt very awkward and hilarious at the same time as it felt natural. We can surrender to another human being at the same time we can take care of another human being.

It took me so long to start working with feeding because I needed a while to figure out how to make sure the experience wouldn’t be awkward or unpleasant as my aim was to have strangers feed each-other. I was wondering if it would be possible at all to create a positive experience for strangers to feed each-other AND find more understanding and connection between them.

Eventually I found out that the way to set up an experience that elevates the pressure of social politeness is to make sure the feeder and feedee do not have eye contact. Eye contact is what creates uneasiness and a heightened sense of self awareness. The moment this is taken away the feedee can relax and focus on the experience itself.

The first workshop was held in Copenhagen at the Copenhagen Food Fair as a rough experiment in feeding. This involved a drum and feeding in a specific rythm. The second one I did in St. Petersburg, Russia at the Orange days in New Holland Island. Finally I developed the concept further into a more detailed version I performed in Japan for Roppongi art night.

In a visionary and empathic way Marije enchants and engages audiences by her design of eating and food. She empowers people by bringing knowledge and awareness. Her concepts come to us like how we consume our favorite snack: with appetite and eagerness. I admire her talent to constantly look further, develop deeper, make transformation of our eating digestible and, even better, desirable for all.

Ingrid van der Wacht Dutch Design Foundation

The set up is simple; Half of the participants feed the other half food and simultaneously tell about their childhood memories around this specific kind of food. As you can see the ‘feedee’ can’t see who’s feeding him to create a kind of anonymous atmosphere. It is touching to see how quickly complete strangers get very intimate, caring about feeding each-other gently and how they feel free to tell the most personal stories.

Feed Love

first performed at
Copenhagen Food Fair, Denmark

Developed further for

Orange days
Saint Petersburg, Russia

Performed at

Roppongi Art Night
Tokyo, Japan

Pictures by

Egor Rogalev
and Marije Vogelzang

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