Feast of the Red Porridge2020 - Rum46, Århus, Denmark
Photos by Barbara Katzin unless otherwise stated
FEAST OF THE RED PORRIDGE
Ten artists and curators were invited to a Secret Society Dinner in Århus at the gallery Rum46 by the artist Francis Patrick Brady. During the lead up to this dinner the artist met with all the invitees at a “secret meeting” and gave them a large brightly coloured fabric patchwork envelope that contained a paper invitation to the Secret Dinner. They were invited to attend the dinner playing the role of themselves but having created a secret “true-self” that they were to keep secret from other people. They were told that the password to gain entry into the dinner was ‘Rødgrød med fløde’ (Red Porridge with Cream) but to pronounce it incorrectly. Rødgrød med Fløde is a traditional Danish dish and a phrase often used to test non-native Danish speakers' ability to form the notoriously difficult glottal stop (Stød) of the Danish language. The invitation also asked them to bring some food and another contribution to the secret society which could be a sculpture, a conceptual work of art, a poem, a song, a drink, a set of plates, a table cloth, a speech, an outfit or attitude.
(below) Handmade Large Fabric Envelopes
(above) Postcard and invitation created and distributed around Århus
SECRET SOCIETY DINNER GUEST LIST
Francis Patrick Brady
Jette Gejl Kristensen
Pernille Randrup Pedersen
Sasha Rose Richter
Noelia Mora Solvez
The Invisible Guest :
Tanja Nellemann Kruse
This Invitation to be part of Secret Society and take part in a game of Secrecy was exactly a game. The artist maintains that nothing is actually being kept secret and that everyone who has asked or who has come into contact with him has been told everything about the project, including that it is secret… The game of Secrecy is being played in order to provide the actual experience of what it means to actively hide things from other people (or pretend to) and what it means to not hide things. This embodiment of actually hiding things from other people makes those invited actually question ‘What are we hiding exactly? Who are these “other” people we are hiding this from? How is this Secret different from other things that we do not tell to other people?’
Feast of the Red Porridge imitates and mimics the traditional Artist dinner which is usually held after the opening of an exhibition with curators and collectors and other special guests and is often an invite only affair. These dinners are not called “Secret Dinners” but they are, in effect, private and secretive affairs where the invited people network and make deals away from the general public.
This project questions how, why and for who all these different levels of separation and elitism occur by playtesting the affect, simulating the scene, making a satire and roleplaying the experience of being at a “secret dinner”. By complicating ourselves in the actual physical experiences of organising and running a secret dinner we were implicated in politics of secrecy and are better able to examine these processes and how they compare to other experiences that we perhaps did not consider to be complicated. What does it mean to be invited and what does it mean when we are not invited? What are the other barriers and different ways in which we can be invited but not welcome, or invited but not able to attend?
The project was a part of TRACING THE TRACKS, Gæstebud.
TRACING THE TRACKS marked rum46’s 25th anniversary as an exhibition space with a series of exhibitions during 2020. On the basis of five previous rum46 projects we are providing a thematic inspiration and historical guided framework for 25 contributors divided into 5 exhibitions - we have now reached the fifth in this series.
The original Gæstebud project engaged with hospitality and the invitation as a complicated generosity so how have these concepts of invitation and hospitality changed? How do invitations to participate differ in terms of including different types of public? Is secrecy a strategy that can only be used for bad deeds?