Having been invited to participate with a project in the international exhibition «Householding, 2015» in the historical settlement of the Bauhaus in Dessau, we could not avoid thinking of our responsibility to involve into the political and cultural aspects of the European crisis and the Greek German relation per ce. The project is a round table containing food that is offered to the visitors. The project’s title is Kernos: One plate for all. It is a food and audio installation at the living-room of Oscar Schlemmer’s Master house. Kernos was an earth-vessel used in ancient Greece in mystic rites, carrying a variety of food offerings that were distributed to the participants. In this project a round table becomes a common plate for all, in a sense parallel to what was meant as distribution in the public sphere, in the ancient ritual. The table does not consist of a hard surface, but of a swallow container that encompasses a soft sensual food landscape, ready to be metabolized. The bigger table ring is made of stainless steel and it contains mainly roasted chickpeas and smaller ring-vessels with olive-oil, honey, raki, bread, dog-food, bird-food, oregano, thym, mastiha, and an oil-lamp. The stainless steel construction, in contrast to the soft, organic surface of the table, refers to the surrounding Bauhaus chairs and the modern metaphor of the household as a technological apparatus. It is worth of mentioning that Bauhaus was moved from Weimar to Dessau due to its relation with the Junger aircraft industry, and its technology, that was already established there. The audio installation comprises 4 sound-works. These are composed by poetic and other texts in three mixed languages (greek, german, french and english) read on a background of sound recordings during a meal preparation or meal consumption or even a festive lunch, and mixed with music. They represent abstract dialogues between the principal subjects/ingredients (Bread and Wine, Honey and Tobacco, Olive-Oil and the House, Chick-peas and Raki). The ideological background of these dialogues echoes the Greek -German relations from Holderlin to the mass starvation of 1942 in occupied Greece, as relations of spiritual desire upcoming from the romantic invention of Greece and the enlightenment program. Nostalgic desire was destined to historically transform into military sovereignty in the national-socialist program of the 30s and 40s. This is the dramatic background of nowadays European politics. Sovereignty appears in the form of economic relations while desire relies on the λυκαυγές of the enlightenment’s program. The round-table is a table for discussions, political, social or economic negotiations between different agencies, with different power positions. Kernos is at the same time the object of these negotiations, which is food. In a wider perspect the stake is wealth and its distribution. Also the question considers the dinners on the table: Is anyone of them dealing with his own menu? Is anyone of them armed with his own cutlery? What does eating mean as a collective act? Sitting around the same table, discussing and eating from common food also creates com-panionship. The word “companionship”, literary means “to share the bread”, to share food. How does this lingual signification come into the cultural experience of food eating and which is the political aspect of the experience of eating as an everyday practice for everyone? The “Kernos” table does not signify what we know in the west as a food table. The individual cutlery and the geometry of the table consisting of symmetric parts, does not exist in the project. There appears instead an asymmetric topography of food gathering and islands of different material and taste in the sea of mouthful options. This does not pretend to be an invention. It is a reconsideration of cultures that present alternative organizations for food sharing around a table, or even down on the ground. And it also is a topological approach to human relations, exchange and distribution. A table to eat together is always a landscape of metabolism. Is Archipelagos, as a field of exchange and networking, a possible metaphor for the table that organizes distribution and human relations? And furthermore: Is the round shape of the planet with its seas, lakes, forests and fields, a metaphor for the companion table of our everyday experience? As Vantana Shiva has put it “The planet is always on our plate, in the food that comes to our plate, are in space and in time all the relationships that ever were, that made it”. Seen at the European scale, or even the scale of the planet, the «Kernos» project exemplifies the planet food economy, the scarcity of global resources and the distribution of global food. In anyway food is difficult to bear all this heavy load of metaphoric meaning. Yet even in its very material aspect food remains political. And exactly because of that, it transforms the primary individual act of satisfying hunger to the common pleasure of metabolizing culture.

In collaboration with Phoebe Giannisi.