You Are What You Eat And We Are Serving Noise

On December the 10th, HIBERNATION organized their second participatory dinner “You Are What You Eat And We Are Serving Noise” at Bieb3000 in Arnhem. Ten people were invited to gather around a table to share a meal and reflect on a story that was introduced through the act of the group reading of a script. Between the four courses, the waiter served the guests with a new piece of text, slowly unfolding a narrative that becomes hard to swallow.

Starter: A light soup of emotional labor presented with a shared platter of screaming into the void.

Main Course: A spicy mouthful of steamed panic served on a softly-boiled safe space garnished with some crunchy questions.

Dessert: A large scoop of fear on top of a tangy melange of manipulation and objectification.

Coffee: Some sugar and milk to accompany a cup of hot air.

For this dinner we created a setting to engage with the story of “Final Girl”, a story of violence, sexual harassment, exclusion, bullying and the wrong handling of these misconducts by the institute they happened in. The more we learn about Final Girl and about what happened to her, the more we start to understand the negligence of the institute when it comesto our safety.

A part of the script that did not make it through the final cut, but nevertheless raises a very important question:

I only want to highlight, that all of these instances happened in school buildings and facilities, with teachers, staff and classmates present, sometimes in the background but often in the foreground, on top of and under desks, in the bathroom stalls, in the middle of hallways, in the cafeteria, the editing rooms, in front of computers and windows, against doors. These events are part of the institution’s history now, they are encased within its walls, and on a personal note are therefore an unexcretable part of the education I received. The last conversation I had with this man was one where he said he recalls none of this ever happening, or it being as bad as I’m making it out to be, and that maybe I was actually traumatizing him by accusing him of all these awful things.
There is a gap here, a gap in understanding what violence is and what it does, and that is reflected on its institution. This is not a singular story about him and me, about a bad and a good person, a victim and a perpetrator. It is a repetitive pattern of circumstances, of what fantasies we allow ourselves to indulge in when we think of what education is, and what we expect the institutions we inhabit and are nurtured in to be. Instead of imagining an educational institution as a space where none of these things happen, where this is an outlier story created through freakish coincidences, where the question at the centre of it is one of a singular person’s morals or of judicial semantics, maybe we can allow ourselves to imagine what a school can be, how to put guidelines in place that allow people to feel safe without limiting their freedoms. Perhaps we first need to understand what actually constitutes a violent education, before claiming that we have managed to completely divorce brutality from our spaces.
You Are What You Eat And We Are Serving Noise was made possible by Alert Fonds.