You have done similar events in Copenhagen and St. Petersburg, what was the challenge with Japan?
“Feed-Love Tokyo” was a next step, a further development of the concept. I thought it was a great challenge to see how it would go in Japanese culture. I was very nervous to see if the participants would actually collaborate in the experience – and they did so well!
What is the aim of your art project?
Feeding is a very intimate thing. It is something that, after early childhood, rarely happens to you until you get old and disabled. In your childhood it is connected with love and security (if all is well), and that’s how you might also see it between lovers. When someone needs to be fed due to a disability, it is often connected to vulnerability and power. Psychologically it’s a fascinating act. Connecting feeding to an exchange of stories is adding something to the experience. It connects food to food memories such as happened many times in childhood as well. So we offered an assortment of typical Japanese soul food and children’s favourites to stimulate the possibility of facilitating food memories.
In many of your works you use a visible border between the people who feed and are fed. It is sometimes a cloth or veil, and sometimes a blindfold that blocks vision. What role does this play in the ambience you create?
I intuitively use such veils. If we would look each other in the eyes right now, I could not feed you because it would make you and me feel very awkward. If we can't see each other, we can kind of relax. I think I am just trying to interfere with feeling safe: you feel safe when you're under something and you think nobody can see you. It's like when you lie in your bed and it's really hot outside: you would still like to have a very thin blanket, not because you're cold – you could also lie there without it – but because it makes you feel secure, because it touches you a little bit, and this contact makes you feel OK.
You describe yourself as an eating designer, what is the difference to a food designer?
A food designer designs food. I think food is already perfectly designed by nature. I design experiences based on the act of eating.
How did you become an eating designer?
I didn’t plan it or anything. When I was a student at the Design Academy I wanted to become a designer and designers at that time (15 years ago) never thought about doing something serious with food. Which I think is funny, food shapes the world, food is essential to us all.
Anyway, I didn’t realize that then. I just started to work with food because I liked it. I was interested in the emotional impact of food and at a time when conceptual design was developing there was room for me to develop this new field of design. The notion of “eating design” grew organically. It took me years to understand the power of eating and design. Every time I explore it I discover new angles.
I love your illustrations, they are very humorous and light.
I like to draw and it helps me to communicate an idea or a thought.