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Intimate exchange: eating secret

Intimate exchange: eating secret

Smith, Caroline (2010) Intimate exchange: eating secret. In: Writings of Intimacy in the 20th & 21st Centuries, 10-12th September 2010, Loughborough University. (Unpublished)

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Eating Secret was launched at the Whitstable Biennale Satellite when members of the public were asked if they had (anonymously) a secret on eating to share. Confessions, gossip and anecdotal memories were transcribed by my alter ego Mertle, a 1950s-styled housewife stationed at Starvation Point memorial. Simultaneously, contributions could be emailed. The resultant one-to-one/small group exchanges in Whitstable were often transformative experiences with secrets being shared, for example, across three generations of one family. Each exchange lasted no more than a few minutes.

Online contributions began to mimic the ‘real’ performances. Mertle’s online function was to serve as shorthand: a static image to ghost the real performance/event. However, she became increasingly ‘present’ as the givers of the eating secrets wanted further interaction. Intimacy was often established through repeated logging of a single contributor’s secrets over several days. Fragmentary, often abbreviated texts, were less completed statements: prompting further exchange. Consequently, the role of Mertle evolved, shaped by fleeting but durational interaction. She increasingly took on a role of ‘always on’. Having ‘ingested’ the secrets, she would continue to perform and construct herself online. The project saw Mertle and her Mobile Eating Secret Station (the M.E.S.S.) in a variety of online (e.g. the blog) alongside ‘real’ social spaces (e.g. Tate Modern, Roundhouse in London and the Multimedial Art Gallery in Serbia). The secrets will form a digital archive. This paper would focus on the relationships of written intimate exchange between the giver and the receiver of the eating secret.

Item Type: Conference or Conference Paper (Paper)
Additional Information: [1] Additionally the author chaired 'Creative Constructions of the Self' panel **** [2] This paper was delivered on Saturday 11th September 2010 at 09:00 to 11:30 as part of Panel 11 entitled ‘It’s all about “you”’. The presentation took place in the Rehearsal Room, Chaired by Ǻsa Andersson.
Uncontrolled Keywords: writing, intimacy, eating secret, performance
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Communications & Creative Arts
School of Humanities & Social Sciences
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Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:12

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