The Given Table is a performance that simulates the working condition of a kitchen in Soho, London, by reacting to the spatial hierarchy of relations in restaurants, which moves from customer, to front of the house, to head chef, to commis chef, to kitchen porter. By addressing each of section that this kitchen line consists of, the project seeks to broaden understandings of the physical and mental compression that a restaurant worker endures during their working hours.
The performance consists of a set of positions relating to different roles involved in the production and consumption of restaurant food. Participants are invited to take turns carrying out different modes of food production, all necessary skills in the restaurant kitchen. The challenge is to handle a range of different ingredients and cookery techniques according to the demand of the customer.
Participants are filmed constantly during this event; a condition that resonates with the surveillance techniques employed in modernized restaurant kitchens, where different forms of registration are imposed on staff in accordance with a strict time schedule for service delivery. The position of participants in the performance changes frequently so that they circulate through the installation on a time-based agenda.
The orchestrator of the performance takes up a centralized position in the installation, from which views in all directions are offered, while the visual scope of the other participants is restricted. Overall the participants of the performance Given Table make visible the lives of those who work in the shadow of the hospitality industry to the academic institution and everyday street.