- Falmouth University
- South West England
I remember the Safety in the Home obsession of the 1980s. In school we had to look at a picture, colour it in then identify the potential hazards. Was the cat about to be mown down? Was mummy’s apron dangling just a little bit close to the gas flame? Maybe it was a ruse to divert kid’s attention away from the possibility of nuclear annihilation? Now its energy use, knives and strangers we need to control in the domestic sphere, but there is still a 10 year old in me that trembles when I see Dorte with her head very close to a toaster.
The appliance is plugged in and worse, 6 bags of sliced bread are piled on top of it. In another corner, her partner Christiane peeps out from behind a garrison constructed from bags of flour. She is flanked by two hand-held whisks, also plugged in. Between them is a dicey tangle of electric cable and extension sockets. Unperturbed, the two edge across the floor towards us, pushing bread, flour, whisks and toaster before them. They halt and start a calculated construction of barricades. Bread is taken out of bags and piled up wedge by wedge. It’s spongy Value Pack bread and excellent for building with. Meanwhile, the flour bags are being reconfigured so we can see Christiane more clearly.
I think at this point they are going to turn on us, but they turn on each other. Breads actually going into the toaster now and being popped out, just to relish the springy pinging sound it seems. Dorte thumps, tears and shreds, while her adversary lays into the flour bags. The food fight is unleashed, with strict rules and a vanguard of electro-human hybrids.
It’s a blessing that Live Art Falmouth is a DIY affair with no Health and Safety proscriptions. I wonder, what is the risk assessment for artist whisking lit toaster balanced on the back of second artist? So far the audience has got away with watching in trepidation, but now the action starts to close in. They’re right up in our faces, whisking into flour, popping bread out at us, then Christiane really lets rip by detonating her flour bags all over herself. It looks like fun. Dorte hurls bread at the floor in response. They gradually burn out ‘till both are slowly kneading the cake mix before them, quite spent.
Its not only the artists who are burnt out. There’s an acrid smell coming from the whisks, or is it the toaster? Both are aimed at us, flex trailing behind them through the carnage. The BomannClatronic devices are still fully functioning; a tribute to the durability of German design.