THE WHITE BOOK PERFORMANCE DINNER – SILENCE EDITION
HELENE LUNDBYE PETERSEN
Between 2011 and 2015 artist and thinker Helene Lundbye Petersen created Colour Spectrum of 11 Spaces comprised of eleven ‘calligraphic manuscripts’, handwritten books, which are later turned into transcribed printed books, artworks, and performances. These works are gathered under the title WhitePageProject, to propose a genuine free space that can enable us to let go of the exhausted structures of the past and face the current condition of life.
Lundbye Petersen has developed different formats of book performances that explore the intimate and solitary space of reading a book as a physical space of social interaction. Her performance dinners transform the physical space, participants, words, food, and the shared experience of the book, into a whole work of art. During these performances, Lundbye Petersen changes her role as performer by acts such as being seated at the table, partaking in conversations, holding speeches, or whispering quotes into the ears of the guests. Lundbye Petersen started experimenting with the dinner format in her studio, and in 2014 she made her first public performance dinner in collaboration with the chef collective I’m a Kombo in Copenhagen. This performance was focused on social interaction and movement coordinated around four different spaces, as opposed to the performance that took place within her solo exhibition WHITE – at all times food has been found to be eaten at Entretempo Kitchen Gallery in Berlin. For this performance—in collaboration with the The Monochromes—everything from food and drink to the material it was served on was white. These performance dinners explore the intimate setting of sharing food as a free space to inspire new thinking and engage in more genuine meetings.
“The White Book Performance Dinner – Silence Edition” was curated by Kathleen Soriano and co-hosted by PERFORMA 15, AFSMK, and The Consulate General of Denmark taking place on the 76th floor in a penthouse in Lower Manhattan. Framed as a minimal setting, the room was lit by candles and had a long white table as the only interior to present a silent, white space as opposed to the city of constant noise and electric lights many feet below. The performance was built around ten courses by renowned chef Mads Refslund (relating to the selected pages of the white book) and choreographed around whispers, speeches, and individual book pages to read alone or together, with the purpose of proposing silence as an experienced space.