Being told to take a plate of food but not eat any of it is definitely up there with one of the hardest things for me to follow. These were the instructions given to me as I walked into the Food Residency. As I arrived, I was given a plate where silver spoons were carefully laid out harbouring some mysterious ingredients. I was then ushered into a room where I was immediately drawn towards three musicians. I began to wonder, how is this all gonna link up? But most of all, will I get it?
Winner of the Watershed and At-Bristol’s first ever ‘Food Residency’, Sabrina Shirazi spent three months curating this project. Collaborating with technologists, chefs, musicians, and foodies from across the city, she’s developed a unique approach to match food with sound.
An interesting approach to exploring art and technology through food, I was presented with a series of questions I had never considered. What does taste mean to us? How does this change through music? What are the colours and textures relating to food?
As the evening progressed, we were given a set of instructions for when to eat from the spoons on our plates. I hastily scribbled notes down so to not forget.
Sabrina instructed that when Wilf (the musician on cymbals) plays, the contents of the yellow spoon followed by the lemon must be eaten. When Tim plays (the cellist) the brown spoon and the nutty ball were next. Whilst Tim switches to Julie (the harpist), guests had to drink the cup with the green liquid, followed by the white spoon.
Honestly, I sat there a bit dubious but as the music played, something amazing happened. The food connected with the music. The synergy between the sound and the food was undeniable! I had never experienced anything like it.
The sound of the cymbal matched the tangy sharpness of the lemon. The chocolate matched the warm and rich tone of the cello. The lighter, more refreshing cucumber complimented the harp perfectly. Last of all, was a pannacotta that went amazingly with the softness of the chords of the harp.
After this, we had a little break and then went back in for a Q& A. Sabrina and the team talked about what had brought them to the place they were at. They spoke about how everyone has a relationship with food. However different it is, the relationship between sound and food is really important.
Sabrina spoke about the ‘click moment’ when the food connects with the music. Apparently, something matches and it heightens your senses. I can safely say that I first hand experienced this, and it’s totally true! It was truly fascinating. To top off the evening, we were given a go on the ‘bone conducting gobstopper’. If the name confuses you, don’t worry, I was too! You basically wrap it in cling film and put in your mouth. It’s connected to music so whilst tasting the gobstopper you can hear the music, very weird but interesting. Obviously, to be hygienic the cling film goes over the gobstopper so you can’t actually taste it, but you get the gist.