FoodCHI 2017

Nov 17 - 18, 2017, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia

Ms. Elizabeth Willing

Queensland University of Technology, Australia


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Eating art

The choice of what to eat in contemporary western culture is influenced by our education, our social and political position, our tolerances, as well as the science and entertainment industries. Our current food climate allows for what could be argued as too many, or too few options. The frequent daily decisions about the most ethical and safe way to feed our bodies leaves a taste of confusion and disillusion in our mouths.

My work responds to these complex relationships by investigating food as a material, form and social instrument. Personal and social relationships to consumption are guides as I explore material deception, seduction, ephemerality, crossmodal processing, and design approaches. Working within the context of the art gallery with its inherent possibilities and limitations, I create sculptures, installations, performances, and video, with a strong emphasis on direct multisensory engagement by the audience. In the past few years these works have become increasingly performative, culminating in my use of the dining table as format for delivering multi-course interactive dining performances.

The result is a body of work that initiates new conversations between art and its spectator, consumption and the politics of the personal and social body. By seducing the audience into interacting with new sensory food experiences the work can reveal the complex codes that influence our emotional and physical relationship to edible materials. Viewers can tryout relationships to consumption and food culture that are established out of curiosity and sensory play instead of confusion and anxiety.

Short bio:

Elizabeth Willing is an Australian visual artist. In 2009 she completed her honours in Fine Arts (Visual Arts) and is currently undertaking a Masters of Fine Art (research) at Queensland University of Technology. In 2014 Elizabeth was the recipient of the Australia Council Kunstlerhaus Bethanien one-year residency. Furthermore Elizabeth has undertaken a two month residency at Helsinki International Art Program HIAP and a one year residency at Metro Arts Brisbane. Elizabeth has undertaken professional development mentorships in New York with Janine Antoni (2011), with the Experimental Food Society in London (2012) and then with Thomas Rentmeister in Berlin (2014). Solo exhibitions and dining performances have been held in Australia and overseas at Tolarno Galleries Melbourne, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin, and Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane. Awards and grants include Australia Council Project funding (2016 and 2017), the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship (2013), Australia Council Artstart grant (2012), a JUMP mentoring Scholarship (2010), and the Melville Haysom Scholarship through QAGOMA (2010).

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Video recording of the talk