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Title: The performativity of food : an exploration and analysis of the work of Heston Blumenthal
Author: Geary, Paul Christopher Samuel
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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Heston Blumenthal's work as a chef has involved the use of scientific and historical knowledges, technologies and discourses. This research establishes Blumenthal's status as a performance artist and the performativity of his food, the former through the performances around and through his food, the latter through the performativity of the food '/ object and the deconstruction of the ideologies and practices of consumption. Through examining his work in his restaurants and television series, I argue that Blumenthal engages in performance practice through his work with food, utilising approaches from performance to create gastronomic events. I examine Blumenthal's cuisine through the frameworks of performativity and phenomenology, by means of writing and practice-as-research. The research starts with introductions to Blumenthal, performativity and phenomenology, before outlining a historical context. This history contextualises Blumenthal in terms of twentieth and twentyfirst century performance practice, as well as introducing some of the philosophical and theoretical approaches to food appropriate to his gastronomy. The research is then split into three conceptual temporalities, which operate as a tool for examining the experience of Blumenthal's food in detail, from a phenomenological perspective. The research addresses the immediate, primal perception of food, its textualisation and the retrospective reflection employed to make sense of the food events. My own performance practice works through and reflects on some of the issues raised by the writing. The practice is documented in the appendices and reflected on within the appropriate chapter. As a complementary mode of knowledge, the practice explores particular ideas raised by the three temporalities: the individualisation of the body in immediate perception; the preparation for a meal as a mode of textualisation, written onto and informing the perception of the food; and the narrativisation of the food event, drawing out how the event is understood and its components ordered into a logic or aesthetic. The research is an exploration of Blumenthal's cuisine in particular, as well as raising issues of the use of food and sensuality in performance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available