9 July, 2012
‘Taste’ challenges the construction of discourses of food and religion that subjugate women. By employing a technique called recursion, four female performers play with a text that considers the history of such truth claims. By stretching its meaning to the edges of absurdity the performance questions the power of such discourses. Equally, through refusing to allow the text to make linguistic sense, the performers stand in a relation of power to words that are meant to oppress them.
The sense of taste is something we all take for granted. It is at once a physiological, emotional and social experience in which we connect ourselves to the earth and the people around us. We eat to survive, make friends, show courtesy, give hospitality, indulge and even to express our social status. Despite the factor that eating and drinking are a universal requirement for human beings, it has historically been considered a different process for men and women. While men eat to survive, gain strength and hunt and gather, society has considered feminine eating as related to excess, sexuality and sinfulness. Ever since Eve encouraged Adam to eat the forbidden fruit, considered to represent sexual desire, women have been blighted with the label ‘sinner’ and this deviance has been intimately tied to the process of eating. This complex intertwining of food and religion has contributed to a status quo in which asceticism becomes aesthetic. While, increasingly men also find themselves oppressed by discourses of beauty that forbid the enjoyment of food, women have suffered from this construction for centuries.