lecture performance in English, 25 min

This lecture performance was first performed during the “Not Quite King, Not Quite Fish” Artistic Research Symposium hosted by the Doctoral Departments of Vilnius Academy of Arts, on the 9th of November 2023

The lecture performance  is telling the story of the modernization of the home through two crucial factors of modern living, heating, and food production. I approached the convergence of these two fields in my solo exhibition show titled „Warmth of our Bodies” (curated by Dalma Eszter Kollár at Budapest Gallery) through the question of energy, primarily the heat of the human body. This heat could be theoretically reduced to two main sources, an inner one generated by oxidizing food and an outer one regulated by the temperature of our surroundings. In my research and in the exhibition, I investigated how both aspects, food, and the housing situation (and primarily the heating of it) had become more centralized and standardized during modernity and the 20th century. These tendencies moved dwelling and eating from the social realm to the ideological and industrial, creating complex, larger-than-human scale systems.

During the lecture, I will go through the history of the Calorie from its inception as a measurement through its migration to medical and food science through indirect calorimetry, its’ status in our collective mind and the ideological and political factors connected to it. Through this concept, it is possible to tell the story of modernism particularly the history of mass food production and mass housing in the after-war era, and the new model of the ideal human being that comes into being in consequence. This journey through energy production both inside and outside of the human body allows us to critically engage with the concept and history of modernity while acknowledging its necessity during this historical period. I will use the heat of the human as constituted by inner heat (oxidizing food) and outer heat (housing, central heating) as a metaphorto deal with both the systematic and the personal and tell the story of the warmth of our bodies.

Photos by Rapolas Grinčelaitis

© 2024