Thursday, September 03, 2009

Live Art Review: Plane Food Cafe @ Artsadmin

Originally on Londonist here: I review a dinner lecture in a fake plane complete with aeroplane seats, stewardess trolleys and unpleasant super-heated pasta.

Doors to manual...

...and the steel door of the shipping container in Toynbee Studios' courtyard rolled back. Ten bemused diners were ushered in to the cramped but admirably authentic aeroplane interior of the Plane Food Café. The smell of the super-heated plastic containers was the same as the food they held; we sat politely with seatbelts fastened, safety bibs on, awaiting artist Richard Dedomenici and his stewardess to serve us from the trolley.

We got dinner, we got drinks and the inflight info was Dedomenici's film about birdstrikes and how geese can detect radiation. It was informative, funny, irreverent while serious in tone, irrelevant but focused. We learned about 'snarge' (the mushy results of a birdstrike) and airport birdscarers, we were also gratefully distracted from the spaghetti bolognese that had the texture of mashed potato mixed with tennis ball shavings, coated in gluey, pungent transparent melted cheese that sat on our laps.

According to Dedomenici, aeroplane meals taste different outside pressurised aircraft cabins: tastebuds and smell receptors are hindered by cabin pressure so in 'normal' surroundings (such as a fake aircraft cabin inside a shipping container in East London), the food should taste spectacular. It does not. For those who have never flown before or are facing a recession without flying, it was eye-opening as to how much better our lives can be without food and conditions like this.

We ate, we learned, we laughed, we dropped food on our safety bibs and then we emerged a swift 30 minutes later, quite sure flying in real aerospace is a Bad Thing (and the food is lousy) but a short hop with Dedomenici Airlines is a Good Thing. This artist's unique lecture / dining / installation method makes you belch, think and laugh all at the same time.

Plane Food Café continues at Artsadmin until 21 June. For more information and to book go to the Artsadmin website.

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