Theory: Learning from the kitchen (II)

Hestia full of Blessings, Egypt, 6th century tapestry (Dumbarton Oaks Collection)
Hestia full of Blessings, Egypt, 6th century tapestry (Dumbarton Oaks Collection)

Let's familiarize ourselves with the Kitchen. The hearth, the ancient fireplace, where food is prepared, is the fundamental centre and focus of the house. Indeed, hearth has the same etymological roots as heart. Hestia, the Greek goddess, will guard the hearth, also in its modern versions. The Kitchen's guiding principle is hospitality or xenia, in Greek. Xenia opens for essential aspects of life, such as eating and being social. 

Cooking has the power to transform the Kitchen's entire atmosphere and is therefore inherently scenographic. The act of cooking is generous but also forceful, because you have to inhale and exhale whatever smell is crafted in the Kitchen. Even if you literally do not eat with your eyes, cooking affects your vision. As a guest, you can hear the sissling and bubbling, popping and pouring,  chopping and battering going on when we (me and my co-chef) cook for you. Our hands will stroke the cold and slippery skin of a fish before transforming it to a perfectly cooked delicacy, and carefully position the cuttlery on the table.  

I think the Kitchen is the place to start, when wanting to access and create awareness for and with scenographic actions and events. Please note that I am not talking about set design for the theatre and the processual art of scenographers here (this is a theoretical stance, and not a devaluation) . What I am after is awareness of and attention to the power and seductiveness of multisensory scenographic action. 

/Astrid von Rosen