Performative meal
@casa di Belmondo

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CIRCOLO

Performative meal

@casa di Belmondo

Belmonte Calabro,

2020

U miegghjiu cumpani è u pitittu. Appetite is the best side dish.

Who designed the lunch? Who did it? The guests, who have become actors and actresses, creating space rather than just inhabiting it - staging it. Their gestures - movements, glances and grunts - which activated abstract, otherwise dormant forms. However, this system of multiple relationships was suggested precisely by those dormant geometries - meant as neutral platforms to awaken intuition. The ingredients - artificial or organic, edible or nearly toxic - everyone juggled between. And then those who procured them for us, with patience, kindness, timeliness and mastery.

All we had to do was to blend everything as you would do in a complex recipe: one of those dishes with many flavors, which must all be distinguished. The intent was to portray different but compatible pieces of everyday life together, and to mix many stories around a large table set - at the scale of the landscape.

There was a great confusion, it seemed a cauldron of bodies, which, moving and eating together, built the space of their own stage. The pungent smell of salmoriglio was more present than the din of the diners. They all cackled, but with their hands, not with their voices: they were absorbed in a sort of industrious silence, busy grabbing and biting the wild cuttlefish, which, roasted on the grill. It was in that precise moment that a week of discussions about what were the role, the identity and the destiny of the Seppie di Belmondo came to a conclusion. The moist scent of pine bark - apparently crunchy, it made you want to eat that too - was a counterpoint to the coldness of the oxidized metal. Those hard and inflexible circles on top of the ground had been forged by a good giant like Gennaro, a blacksmith from Cosenza with such affable, soft manners. They were tables, pans and bowls, inviting but fortunately really rigid, the only cornerstones of that suddenly initiated dance. Everyone was swiftly going back and forth, finally aware of how to recognize the safe parts of the garden, where they could walk, sit and let themselves go. The Seppie and the roasted cuttlefish were scattered everywhere, but they also orbited around one of the round platforms to which that gastronomic procession was anchored. A little further on, there were heaps of colorful fried vegetables, cultivated with enthusiastic effort by Mariella among the ups and downs of Spineto and cooked following precisely all her suggestions. As a last, more orderly outpost, there was what could not be missing: a row of Belmonte tomatoes, cut into thick slices, arranged like colors on a palette and seasoned theatrically from above, as in a propitiatory dance. At first no one came close to them, since those tomatoes seemed so composed, almost inviolable - you could no more than dare to smell them. But then, as soon as someone started to creatively imagine ways to handle those deliberately inflated proportions, the whole symphony of cheerful disorder naturally started right there, from the tomatoes.

We wanted to construct a simple ritual, in which particular habits could emerge and adapt to each other, stimulated by the right architectural props. Actually we hoped, and it happened, that those who were there would eat and perform spontaneously. We didn’t aim to transfigure routines into exceptions, rather we aimed to finally reveal them as exceptional acts.

Directed and curated by Lemonot

with

La Rivoluzione delle Seppie

Photos

Silvia Gin

Nicola Barbuto

Luca Pitasi

Margherita Manfra