The Dining Project originated during my first year at Yale University, where I completed my MFA. Feeling isolated, I posted hundreds of posters all over the campus, inviting anyone interested in “sharing foods and introspective conversation” to contact me. By the end of the first day, I had received approximately 45 responses to my invitation.
This project involved an after-hours encounter in the museum's gallery. Through lottery, I arranged to have a private dinner with a stranger on scheduled nights during the exhibition period. Four times a week I carefully prepared a meal, according to the dietary preference of my dinner guest, using food as a catalyst and medium for trust and intimacy. Only the first evening’s ongoing interaction and dialogue was recorded on audio/video, with the camera lens at the level of the food, as we sat across from one another at the low table. In the following days, the recording was played in the gallery, slightly altered and barely audible. This visual/aural memory allowed gallery visitors to get a sense of the atmosphere and witness traces of meals past.
Commissioned by Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 1998.