Interdisciplinary education often involves interdisciplinary collaboration. So, apart from acquainting oneself with the jargon of different faculties, the most interesting part of studying Industrial Ecology was teamwork. Co-creating with techies and analysts, creatives and the business-minded, philosophers and designers.
Luckily, that part of life hasn’t changed. Recently, I joined forces with a chef, a sommelier and a trained performance artist with a fascination for (personal) food stories. We pulled together a dining experience for Amsterdam’s cultural all-nighter, Nuit Blanche.
Photos: Jorn Heijdenrijk
Our common belief behind the experience was that people shouldn’t interact with their food (things), but with each other (people). To me, food is a medium to explore new ground, evoke a sensory experience or deepen a conversation. That exactly sums up, what we did.
If you know someone who attended the dinner, ask how he or she experienced it. Otherwise, continue reading.
Located in a former-tobacco-warehouse-turned-theatre, the dinner was themed narcotique, referring to its historical contribution to the – once thriving – Dutch tobacco trade. Upon arrival, eaters would receive a pencil, two paper tags, an envelope and specific instructions: the interaction tool-kit.
Once seated, eaters were challenged to explore new tastes (edible ashes! beer vermouth! guarana sabayon!) and ways of eating (hands!). The table-setting exposed them to the ingredients of the menu.
By connecting historical accounts of the location to the menu, eaters were continuously fueled with food for thought. Also, the mystery toolkit played its part in generating conversation among – former – strangers .
Besides designing an experience to make our eaters behave like explorers, the team also practiced what they preached: a move beyond one’s comfort zone. Truly valueing each member’s contribution and continuously syncing (from ideation to execution) is challenging. However, it proves how co-creating beyond one’s (perceived) discipline pays off tremendously. I’m thankful to the team and organization for crossing a junction of creative collaboration.
PS In India, people are native to these type of processes, obviously: