Art, food and literature. Food, art and literature. Art. Food. Words.
You can have all of the above in one single event, condensed into two hours of strangeness. However it is the sense of hospitality The Domestic Godless collective extend that set it apart from some contemporary art events. All three of The Domestic Godless collective members circle the room describing the edibles and the drinkables and the sometimes dark and humorous stories behind their work. Taking over Galway Arts Centre for the duration of the Galway International Arts Festival, the gallery showcase is open daily with special events scheduled throughout the festival. The evening and brunch performances are a unique blend of visual art, food and interaction in which you are invited to become immersed in a visual, aural and culinary experience.
Not quite knowing what to expect the debut Forage of Pataphysical Gastronomy evening event unfolded like a a multi layered chocolate and cherry gateux, each layer complementing the last and each taste lingering on to the next. In the case of the Prawn Head Smoothie followed by Burnt Toast and Marmalade Ice Cream (with non vegetarian carpet fluff) the culinary sequence may have seemed nonsensical to your average Michelin Star Chef, but seemed to make perfect sense from a visual art point of view. The likeability of some of the dishes, and I am no food critic, still remains indeterminate. You want to like the food, you really want to like it…… but my goodness it looks good……….
On arrival there is no cheap wine or cheese and crackers, the usual offerings of the under-funded local art scene, but a Buckfast and champagne cocktail with salt and citrus crust, reflecting local culture and love for the black stuff (not Guinness – Buckfast). Attendees then treated to a reading by the Galway author Claire-Louise Bennett who wrote the practically edible award winning debut collection of stories Pond. Her reading from The Domestic Godless book ‘The food the bad & the ugly’ set the scene for the gastronomical and visual feast, with sound artist Russell Hart providing ambient and not so ambient soundscapes.
Offering Childrens Tears in Sad Water, along with Duck Heart and Octopus, mushroom based alcohol, Arrogant Fish and some black tarmac Modernist Dystopia, there is some difficulty in asserting what is exactly edible throughout the whole process and what is not. However the edibles you do try are on one hand made with love, humor and vision, but on the other made to confuse, disturb and nauseate. This is where the art really works yet what also sets it aside from relational aesthetics or just another arty dinner date.
According to the website blurb Domestic Godless ‘research and explore the darkest corners of the world’s culinary cultures employing food as material for artistic experimentation and invention, creating recipes and installations that teeter on the edge of feasibility and believability.’ For those with familiarity of the world of visual art this teetering is a re-occurent theme, one which is perhaps most apparent in sculpture. David Machs sculptures in the art festival gallery are a great example of how this teetering is employed by artists to speak out of the ordinary languages through the optic. We can see what we are seeing but the imprint is lasting because what we see we cannot quite believe. The Domestic Godless utilise this tactic well, creating a multi media sensory experience that does not seem pretentious or forced, while at the same time visually stimulating and confounding of the sensory. If you want a different type of date, if you like food and hate art, or hate food but love art, or just want to sample what a Ghetto Gateaux tastes like, The Domestic Godless is for you. The remaining events are well worth checking out, or just pop into the gallery between 10am – 5.30pm daily and have a mini taster.