Beggar’ s Food
: Foodpower Performance
I’m hangry / Are you hungry?
Media partner and press: Digicult (www.digicult.it). Critical text: Antonio Caronia.
Video, directing and editing: Franca Formenti
Tuesday the 2nd of February 2010 at 5.30 PM Dissapore presents Beggar’s Food | I’m Hungry / Are You Hungry?, a performance developed by the artist Franca Formenti and created in collaboration with the director of Dissapore, Massimo Bernardi.The event was triggered by FoodPower, a project created by Franca Formenti in 2007 and developed into a series of actions and performances through which to re-think about food, intended as a core instrument of power mechanisms.
t’s not a coincidence that at the beginning of the new century food has become, as did happen at the dawn of modernity, a cultural phenomenon. We are going through a phase of social transformation, of adaptation to a new form of capitalism, the capitalism of knowledge. In this new phase food becomes a central cultural object.
“We are idealistically used to the fact that culture is in the high ranks of our life, that’s it’s a bit above us, that it is the highest and most noble product of our brain, often forgetting about our stomach. In some moments of transition food becomes “food for thought”. Food reminds us that our body keeps being the privileged instrument of our thoughts, and even some of the more immaterial, noble and vile things that human beings can produce”. (Antonio Caronia)
FoodPower is a work in progress of actions and situations that involve the audience and professionals of the world of food, creative incursions that act on the various ways of experiencing food and the behaviour that it creates.
At the same time with the 2010 edition of the Milan congress of Identità Golose (Gluttonous Identities) , a meeting of international importance dedicated to authorial cuisine Beggar’s Food | I’m Hungry / Are You Hungry? In Milan, in Piazza Argentina, will have a food stand , where the public can buy food prepared by exceptional chefs. Beggar’s Food will be an occasion to taste dishes prepared by some homeless immigrants, who, after having been trained by the Dissapore staff, which is a reference point for the world of food in its various meanings, have acquired a high level of competence and professionalism in the restoration field. The chefs will give the public that take part in the performance a bowl of soup, a dish that is connected to the tradition of “poor” cuisine. An example of social diet, soup is capable of seducing taste, nurturing healthily and protecting from the cold weather of winter in a genuine and economical way
Beggar’s Food is an event connected to food and the pleasure of the palate, but at the same time it is a prototype for the creation of a new economical model, an inversion of the mechanism of supply/demand for those who live in difficult social and economical situations.
“I’m Hungry” is a statement, but at the same time a question, which crowds around the streets of Milan in a problematic way: on sidewalks, in the underground, on streetcars, these places are stages for increasingly pressured requests from those who are hungry, those who do not have a roof over their head, those who do not even have the bare minimum to be able to survive. The demand for food passes through the cleanliness of a car windscreen at a traffic light, the gadgets of street sellers, the roses given at restaurant tables, the petulant echoes of a question that multiplies uncontrollably. The answer is often detachment toward those requests, and in many cases, exploitation of them. The problem of the question “I’m Hungry” and its consequences are at the core of the concept of Beggar’s Food . The performance takes its title from Berthold Brecht’s “Three Penny Opera”, which was inspired by the satirical comedy “The Beggar’s Opera” by John Gay in 1727. In the original text, Gay makes the poor people, the beggars, into the pariahs of society, heroes of a world turned upside down. Gay triggers an overturn of the values of his contemporary London to represent the image of corruption and immorality of the political system of high society as a reflection.
In the same way, the performance Beggar’s Food isolates the social phenomenon of the excluded, the poor man, and makes him a street action, a situation where he can take part, provoking an overturning of the rules with which to play. Beggar’s Food inverts the burning question of the poor man by transforming it until it becomes an offering: “I’m Hungry” becomes “Are you Hungry?”. Thanks to the competence and experience of Massimo Bernardi and the staff of Dissapore, the poor man enters into the world of food, becoming a person who offers something instead of a victim of his own question. An offer that creates an economical offer, seeing as the public will be able to give money back. A donation or the umpteenth hand-out, and a symbol that is firmly in the “space” of the performance is the relationship between food-money that is at the base of the liberal economy.
Dissapore was founded in 2009 by Massimo Bernardi in collaboration with a series of associated editors, with the objective of creating an informative and thought-provoking space on food and wine and to give an impression in real time on top gastronomical news. Designed by Tiziano Fogliata with the graphics of Antonio Tomacelli, Dissapore wants to be an encounter between the traditional editorial model of a magazine and the innovative one of a blog. A editing team of dynamic collaborators who mix text content with multimedia, thanks to the video contributions, to propose an antidote to the daily dose of gastronomical journalism that is insipid and servile, lightened by the pleasure of discovering, cooking, eating and sharing good food. Beggar’s Food is an event created by Franca Formenti, developed in collaboration with Massimo Bernardi and Dissapore (www.dissapore.com).