Research-Creation about and with Food: Diffraction, Pluralism, and Knowing
A hybrid approach for artistic-academic investigation, research-creation has proven effective in addressing complex socio-technical issues while usefully undoing the dualities that emerge within more conventional research practice. In the realm of food, this is particularly relevant, given that the knowledges that constitute food culture and food systems are pluralistic. Moreover, food embeds some of our most critical contemporary challenges, such as hunger, migration, trade, climate change, and justice. Methods that address the subjective and relational nature of food, such as those of research-creation, are therefore critical. This exposition presents two food-centered research-creation projects, created by the two co-authors, each of which aimed at three objectives: (a) the pluralization of methods, knowledge, and outputs; (b) collaboration in meaning-making, reflection, and feedback; and (c) ongoing epistemic and personal transformation. Geneviève Sicotte’s Signes de vie / Vital Signs is a digital, multimedia exhibition, largely presented through verbal, visual, and auditory content. David Szanto’s The Gastronome in You is a series of three performances about death, life, and the microbiome, using the materiality of a sourdough starter to activate the gustatory and haptic senses. By bringing these two projects into dialogue with each other, and through an experimental, “diffractive analysis” process, we present ways in which research-creation can help illuminate new forms of knowledge that engage with the distinct challenges and opportunities within food studies and for the future of food-and-human relations.