Invitation for a dinner is a participatory art project that I am developing with the Peruvian artist Pilar Talavera (who is currently based in Barcelona) in the framework of an artistic-theoretical research, aiming at studying food and cuisine as forms of re-elaboration of identities and personal lives. ON THE DIFFERENT DYNAMICS OF PROTECTION AND THREAT THAT CONFIRM DOMINATION, WHICH I COVER IN THE TERM IMMUNIZATION, SEE ISABELL LOREY | FIGUREN DES IMMUNEN. ELEMENTE EINER POLITISCHEN THEORIE | DIAPHENES | 2011
The research focuses on two main coordinates: the symbolic declaration of daily routine and the redefinition of identity through food and cooking, within a foreign, cultural and traditional context.
Starting from these considerations, last March, I invited Pilar to Bologna (Italy, the city where I live) and we started to involve people who live here but are originally from other countries. We asked for some of their time to cook together what they used to prefer eating back at home, so they could tell us This is a footnote about their experience of arrival, transit and permanence in the city and eventually how their culinary habits have changed.
The attitude towards their own traditional cuisine becomes a reflection of the process of adaptation to a foreign new tradition. How do these people cook their own traditional meals here? How do they find their own ingredients in a very traditional culinary environment, such as the Italian one? Do they modify their recipes or strongly maintain them unvaried? Are the culinary rituals (time, rhythm of cooking and eating as well as the presentation of meals) adapted to the new context? We have spent time together, talking, cooking and eating with people coming from Japan, Pakistan, Iran, Sudan and Croatia. We wanted to create an intimate experience, a temporary, intense relation, where personal narratives could overlap the culinary lives.