As I’ve mentioned previously, I discarded all prior artistic efforts the week before Christmas, just in time to give myself the holiday gift of anxiety. During the Christmas period I was able to silence the terror with the sounds of unwrapping gifts, an ungodly amount of food and the annual ideal Christmas chit chat. This only temporarily muffled the dread of having no work to show but having the full knowledge of a pending MA show. Anyway, since new year has arrived in all its monotonous glory, I have been asking myself, what the fuck am I going to do? How am I going to even have time to figure out how to manifest an idea I’ve yet to really understand?

I knew I wanted it to centre around conversation but I didn’t know what else beyond that really. I started to just think aloud at the people closest to me in the vein hope that something would catch their ear and I would stumble onto it. Unfortunately, this method seldom yields results but it does successfully annoy those around you. Anyway, after coming home to cook dinner for my family as I do most nights, I began to tell my Fiancé of all the terrible ideas that i’d publicly vocalised and how none of them seemed to be the right fit or even remotely interesting. As we sat around the dinner table we discussed how I wanted it to function, she just came out with “canapés, why don’t you make canapés with people”. Initially I wasn’t sold on the idea but the more we discussed it the more scope it seemed to have. I had mentioned making food and having conversations but it all felt too one sided and didn’t carry enough involvement and participation from the people in the room. Yet, the canapés idea seemed more suited to collaboration, we could make a small batch together or they could simply make one for themselves. The conversation then centred around how do you collaborate with canapés?

I begun to think of the ingredients list almost like a self curated festival, what are my personal favourites across the categories. I started to list certain foods and why they had a specific impact or memory. This felt like an interesting development, I liked the idea of having a conversational starting point and it seemed to fit by using food memory as the spark.  Once we get rolling, the conversation can spill out wherever it likes but as a means of beginning it, that felt right.

These ingredients will be in a variety of forms to allow for the most varied outcomes, pickled, raw, sautéed, fresh, vegetables, bread, fruit, seeds, meats etc… this is to give each participant full control and autonomy over their selection. I’m interested in seeing if people stay traditional and make food they know or whether they will experiment and try foods they haven’t heard about before… Due to my travelling experiences, a lot of my recent food memories are centred around Asian flavours. Some people may not be overly familiar with particular ingredients and products I want to buy. This buffet style, build your own canapés station could offer new food experiences which is something that I find exciting and compelling.

I also want a document to come from the exchange but I’ve yet to realise what is could be. I don’t want to record the conversations through audio as I feel that it may keep people from engaging and could tamper the engagement. However, the idea of a recipe book from the night is something I’m toying with. Whether its a photographic document of the canapés made throughout the night or whether its a recipe book made entirely from the participants most impactful food memory. I feel that a lasting document that derives from one of these ideas could be an interesting outcome, time will tell.



Matthew Weir