Eating E.T. is a hands-on exploration of our intimate relations to other species, real and fictional.
A life-size, gluten replica of E.T. The Extraterrestial, roasted whole on a spit and eaten together at festive social events, provokes discussions and questions on what is a stake in our practices of eating.
The first public barbecue took place May 26, 2014 at the Exploring the Animal Turn Symposium at the Pufendorf Institute in Lund, Sweden. The second barbecue happened at Foodycle, 5-6 September 2014 in Helsinki, where we also hosted a Mock Everything workshop in which the participants created their own mock meat creatures.
Food and eating puts into play many levels of our human (and non-human) conditions, ranging from the geo-political, economical, and ecological to the social and intimately personal. From international horse-meat scandals to the vegan’s alienation and disgust at the family Christmas dinner table. We all, experientially, relate to food and eating. We all need to feed.
“In eating we are most inside the differential relationalities that make us who and what we are. There is no way to eat and not to kill, no way to eat and not to become with other mortal beings to whom we are accountable, no way to pretend innocence and transcendence or a final peace. [...] Multispecies human and nonhuman ways of living and dying are at stake in practices of eating.”
/Donna Haraway in “When Species Meet”, 2007
What would it feel like to eat an alien? How can we dearly love and grieve some non-human species while accepting the industrialised slaughter of others? How can we cater to the needs of eaters who seek a surrogate for the sacrificial and ritual aspects of convivial, meat-based, barbecues? What are our ethical responsibilities towards fictional organisms?
This project is our headlong exploration of these questions - and other questions that we haven't thought of yet.
Some of our reflections turned into a chapter in Exploring the Animal Turn.
The Barbecue at Pufendorf Institute
© Bengt Pettersson and Helga Steppan
The Barbecue and workshop at Foodycle
© Antti Ahonen
Please share your thoughts, comments, and questions: firstname.lastname@example.org